NEW YORK — “We cannot continuously be at war with co-Filipinos; that’s the tragedy of it all,” says Philippine peace adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza, telling Fil-Ams at the Philippine Consulate in New York that president Rodrigo Duterte is giving peace another chance with rebel group CPP-NPA.
“The environment is a little bit conducive now to push for a peace process with the communist party, and as we speak now, there is now an effort, ongoing, right now,” said Dureza.
Dureza says plans for a second agreement to move the peace talks forward is underway, but unlike past open negotiations, he says this time, the peace talks will be private.
“We’d like to do this quietly, we’ll come out with public announcements and disclosure when we have milestones already to announce. Maybe that’s another learning lesson that we have from the very transparent and open negotiations we did.”
President Duterte abandoned the peace efforts last November after he complained of repeated rebel attacks.
Today, the resumption of peace talks is welcome news to Filipinos, but peace advocates say, the pending petition in a Philippine court to classify the CPP-NPA as terrorists must be abandoned.
However, kast month the rebels rejected any pre-conditions if they were to resume the peace talks, and Duterte said he will “not yet” drop the government’s bid to classify the CPP and NPA as terrorists.
A number of peace talks between the government and rebel groups have been attempted since 1986, but were unsuccessful.
This time, Dureza believes the two sides have found some common grounds to move the peace talks forward – but these grounds, he says, will not be disclosed at this time.