TWO lawmakers on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to lift his conditions for resuming the peace talks with the communist rebels.
Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro said it was the obligation of the negotiators to comply with the previous agreements, and that adding conditions would not help move the peace talks.
Meanwhile, troopers from the Northern Luzon Command captured two New People’s Army camps in Abra and Isabela over the weekend, an official said Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Isagani Nato said the 73rd Division Reconnaissance Company and the 24th Infantry Battalion under Joint Task Force “Kaugnay” captured the abandoned rebel camp in Kilong-olao village in Boliney, Abra, around 4 a.m. on Sunday.
He said the camp was 20 by 15 meters and could accommodate about 15 fighters.
Tinio said Duterte must lift his conditions for resuming the peace talks and allow the negotiating panels to continue with the agenda set at The Hague Declaration.
“Peace negotiations are long processes of debates and agreements between the two parties that cannot be fast0tracked in just 60 days,” Tinio said.
“The next agenda of the peace panel would be on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms, which cannot be agreed upon in a rush as it will be the most important document in the peace process because it aims to resolve the historical and structural inequities in Philippine society.”
Castro said the peace talks between the government and the NDF had already resulted in agreements between the two parties, which would allow a more neutral and less hostile environment when entering the peace negotiations.
“These are the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, which is basically an identification system that gives protection and security to the consultants of both parties, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which oblige both parties to promote the respect of and adherence to international humanitarian law among their forces. It emphasizes the urgency of protecting the civilian population,” Castro said.
Said Tinio: “He [President Duterte] must junk the petition filed by the Department of Justice because it falsely tags the critics of the administration, activists and members of legal progressive organizations as ‘members’ and ‘officers’ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.”
Said Castro: “If President Duterte genuinely wants to solve the poverty in the country, he must solve the roots of the armed conflict and listen to the calls of the Filipino people for genuine land reform, national industrialization which would provide decent jobs and wages, an end to contractualization and adequate social services for the people.”