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NDF: Lasting truce ‘untenable’ if . . .

THE communist National Democratic Front said Friday forging a permanent ceasefire with the government by October may be “untenable” because of violations of the prevailing truce but President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to control all militia groups while the peace talks are ongoing.

“The continued violations [make the permanent ceasefi re] untenable,”  and it is important for the government to address this already,” said NDF consultant Adelberto Silva, a ranking offi cial of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“In the next round of talks, we will try to move forward the bilateral ceasefi re agreement. The NDF had already raised the matter with the [government of the Republic of the Philippines],” Silva said in a media forum on Friday.

If the supposed violations are not ironed out in the next round of talks, Silva said the prevailing ceasefire may not be renewed after it expires on Oct. 28.

Silva, along with NDF consultants Alan Jazmines, Rafael Baylosis, Randall Echanis, Loida Magpatoc, Ruben Saluta, Renato Baleros, Kennedy Bangibang and Jaime Soledad are preparing for the next round of talks in Oslo from October 6 to 10.

But Duterte already ordered the military to control anti-communist paramilitary groups, that were organized to help the military secure hot spots across the country, while the talks are ongoing.

Speaking to reporters during his visit in Camp Vicente Alagar in Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday, Duterte said the presence of the civilian armed groups could undermine the peace talks.

“Paramilitary men operating with firearms issued by the government would undermine the peace process. I hope this ends because we are really trying our best to come up with a peaceful country,” he said.

Duterte particularly mentioned the Magahat-Bagani Force operating in Surigao del Sur and another group in Arakan, North Cotabato.

In his speech before policemen, he said he was to meet with NDF chief peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni in Davao City on Thursday night but did not reveal details.

“Jalandoni is waiting for me in Davao. He’s there right now and I’ve invited them for dinner,” he said, adding that he is pushing for an “inclusive government” and not a coalition government with the communists.

Duterte added he could come up with a peace deal with the NDF so long as they do not insist on having posts in the country’s police and military organizations.

The Duterte administration is also talking with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front and the Communist Party of the Philippines, headed by Jose Maria Sison, in a bid to achieve lasting peace in the country, particularly in Mindanao.

Both the government and NDF negotiating panels signed an agreement in Oslo last August to enforce a ceasefire for 60 days ending Oct. 28 while talks are ongoing in Oslo.

While the NDF welcomed Duterte’s pronouncements to address threats from paramilitary groups, they stressed that this in not enough to resolve the threats looming the continuation of the ceasefire agreement.

Topics: National Democratic Front , permanent ceasefire , Government , President Rodrigo Duterte , Peace talks
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