CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Jesus Dureza, President-elect Rodrigo Dutere’s appointed Secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is flying to Oslo, Norway Friday night, June 10, to meet with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF) head Jose Maria Sison.
Dureza made the announcement on his Facebook page.
Duterte had made peace talks with the communist rebels part of his platform during the presidential campaign.
Dureza, a veteran in the peace negotiating table, said that he is flying upon the instructions of Duterte. Dureza was appointed presidential adviser on the peace process from 2005 until 2008 under the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“I will be accompanied by incoming Sec. Silvestre Bello III and former congressman Hernani Braganza. We will look forward to a fruitful meeting under the auspices of the Norwegian government in the sidelines of the ‘Oslo Forum’,” Dureza said in his post.
The Royal Norwegian government is the third-party broker of the stalled peace talks. Bello is incoming labor secretary under the Duterte Cabinet.
Earlier, Duterte said he planned to send Bello and Dureza to Norway to initiate talks with the CPP and Sison.
NDF spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili told a press conference on Wednesday, June 8, Sison’s coming home for peace talks was a “very ticklish issue” because the United States had put the CPP and the NPA in its terrorist list. This means it could have Sison intercepted and arrested during one of his stopovers en route to Manila from the Netherlands, where he is based.
Dureza also said he wanted to correct the rumor reported by some media outlets that he is open to negotiation with the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“True, I have even directly negotiated with the ASG just recently to seek the release of my friend John Ridsdel whom they nevertheless beheaded as the families could not raise the demanded ransom amount,” Dureza said.
Dureza said negotiating with the ASG and BIFF is not the way forward and that they would have to face the full force of the law.
“But negotiating with them in the context of what are we doing with the Bangsamoro and the CPP/NPA/NDF is definitely not the way forward. They have to face the full force of the law for their terrorism and criminal acts,” Dureza said. – Rappler.com