Dureza: We are now at the threshold of peace
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Jesus Dureza, the chief government negotiator of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF) said that the country is close to the resumption of peace talks.
Dureza, together with incoming Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and former congressman Hernani Braganza flew to Oslo, Norway last week to meet with Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the NDF and Luis Jalandoni, NDF chairperson.
The meeting resulted in a joint statement last Wednesday for the resumption of peace talks sometime during the 3rd week of July 2016 in Norway.
The Royal Norwegian Government is the third party facilitator of the peace negotiations.
In a statement, Dureza urged everyone to stay on course on the road to peace. "Yet, the road ahead to trek is not that always smooth and easy,” Dureza said.
“Four years after its breakdown and collapse, we are now on the threshold of a resumption of the stalled peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF,” Dureza added.
“Norway will usher in the formal restart next month of what could be another renewed effort to end conflict and bring about that long elusive but cherished peace in the land,” Dureza said.
Dureza also said that the recent Oslo “encounter” was a reunion of sorts of old friends on both sides of the negotiating table but whose efforts in various times and climes in the past proved futile.
“Now, new sparks of the dawning Rodrigo Duterte presidency are reigniting the peace landscape,” Dureza said.
Dureza said that the two-day Oslo meeting shows optimism and trust.
“There is mutual enthusiasm and hope, not only amongst us negotiators across the table, but most significantly, among us all Filipinos, in whose behalf all these efforts are being done in the first place,” Dureza added.
There will expectedly be humps and bumps along the way. But there is a destination that we must all inevitably reach, the chief negotiator said.
“Our new president is taking the decisive lead and has shown us the way. Let us all stay the course,” Dureza urged.
Internal displacement in Misamis Oriental
While Dureza and the CPP-NDF-NPA are holding exploratory talks to jumpstart the stalled peace talks, 135 people evacuated their ancestral lands in Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental.
This is the 4th time that the Higaonon tribe in Barangay Banglay fled their land after armed clashes between government troopers and NPA rebels.
The clashes between the army and the rebels have been going on for more than a week now and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are seeking government intervention via the provincial government.
A scheduled dialogue today, June 17, between the IDPs, army officials from the 4th Infantry Division, and the provincial government was cancelled. No definite date has been specified for the rescheduled dialogue.
Captain Nestor Endozo, spokesperson of the 58th Infantry battalion of the 4th ID, said they have distributed relief goods to 21 families housed in Lagonglong’s municipal gym.
Nenita Hilugon, head of the IDPs, said they will not be returning to their homes anytime soon. The IDPs want the military to withdraw their troops from their lands.
The Karapatan Human Rights group said the military has violated the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) by placing their soldiers in civilian communities. – Rappler.com