DAVAO CITY―The Davao City Peace Committee or DC-PEACE convened for the first time on Tuesday to discuss its strategic plan on dealing with the New People’s Army for the localized peace talks here.
Retired judge Ridgway Tanjili, DC-PEACE chairperson, said the committee will deliberate on how they are going to parley with the communist NPA rebels who are in Davao City.
“We still need to gather data to know the grievances of the other parties, what they are their concerns and what do they want,” Tanjili said in a press briefing.
Before the negotiations, the committee needs to know the situation on the ground to make a strategy out of it, said veteran peace convener and DC-PEACE Technical Consultant Irene Santiago.
“The most important thing is to know the situation on the ground for data gathering. We also need to know the cause of the violence, who are their leaders and what the source of the violence is,” Santiago said.
DC-PEACE is composed of Tanjili, Santiago as technical consultant; lawyer Raul Nadela, Mayor Duterte’s Chief of Staff; Archbishop Romulo Valles; Barangay Captain Jessielito Areja of Malabog; Ma. Luisa Bermudo of the City Social Services and Development Office; and lawyer Elisa Lapina from the City Legal Office.
Mayor Sara Duterte said the committee will start communicating to the NPA’s three identified leaders here in the city, and will wait until November 17 to know if the rebels intend to talk or not.
“We have today ]to November 17 to wait for their feedback. The person designated to reach out to them will report if they have a positive or negative response,” the mayor said.
Duterte clarified the city is not asking the rebels to surrender, but to sit down and talk to the city government on how they can work together instead.
Meanwhile, Mayor Duterte said the city will write to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to explain the purpose of the localized peace talks, after she read a statement from Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza on not supporting the talks.
“There is no law prohibiting LGUs to engage in a localized peace talks, in fact, there is a basis under the general welfare clause of the Local Government Code initiated by the LGU plus an executive order,” she said.