PH rebels offer to form 'committee of unity' with gov't
MANILA, Philippines - Communist rebels said Thursday they have called for an "alliance" with Philippine President Benigno Aquino to undertake programmes aimed at ending a long insurgency that has killed tens of thousands.
There was no immediate official reaction to the reported offer, which chief rebel negotiator Luis Jalandoni said was made during "special track" talks in the Dutch city of The Hague on Monday and Tuesday.
"The 'special track' means the offer of alliance and truce offered by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to the government of the Philippines," the exiled rebel told reporters in a statement.
Both sides would form a "Committee of National Unity, Peace and Development" to implement agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialisation, he added.
"On the basis of the above-mentioned points, a truce would be declared and implemented," Jalandoni said.
The National Democratic Front is a communist-led rebel coalition.
Teresita Deles, who advises Aquino on peace talks, told AFP she could not immediately comment on the supposed offer. Chief government negotiator Alexander Padilla was unavailable for comment.
Padilla had told AFP last year that the Philippine government had rejected the rebels' offer in 2005 of a "coalition" government.
Last year Manila also denied local press reports it was considering offering cabinet posts to rebel leaders including their exiled founder, Jose Maria Sison.
Jalandoni and Sison met Padilla in The Hague this week and agreed to a 26-day nationwide truce from December 21 and another meeting early next year, said a statement by Norway, which mediated the meeting.
Both the military and the communist party's guerrilla arm, the New People's Army, have declared a separate shorter ceasefire over Christmas.
The communists have been waging a rebellion since 1969 and more than 30,000 people have died in the conflict, according to the government. - Agence-France Presse