Dureza: Peace talks to be inclusive

MANILA, Philippines – Under the Duterte administration, peace talks with communist and Muslim guerrillas will not only be inclusive and committed to all signed peace agreements, but will also be consistent with planned reforms.

This is what chief government negotiator Jesus Dureza said on Saturday, July 2 in an interview over radio dzRB.

Dureza, the presidential adviser on the peace process, said that aside from preparing for the July peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF), he is also working on talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The possibility of having a ceasefire with the NDF is part of the agenda that will be discussed in Oslo, Norway third week of July, Dureza said.

Peace agreements

"Right now we are still in the process of working on a possible road map. And we are taking the cue from the policy statement of President Duterte during the inauguration," Dureza said.

"We are committed to these peace agreements that have been signed but they will have to be consistent [with] the planned constitutional reforms and the legal reforms that we will implement," he added.
 
Dureza noted that this also covers the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was signed in March 2014 between the Aquino administration and the MILF after 17 years of peace talks.

The Duterte administration will likewise implement the 1996 Final Peace Agreement signed with the MNLF, Dureza added.
 
"We will also look into the ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] Law which is [Republic Act] 9054. We will look into the IPRA [The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act] Law which is to Indigenous Peoples," he said.

After complying with the commitment to honor these peace agreements, Dureza said that they will look into formulating one law that will be inclusive to all stakeholders concerned. (READ: Dureza: We are now at the threshold of peace)

Political will
 
He added that he is planning to meet with various groups in Cotabato, possibly next week, and other parts of Mindanao to hear their suggestions for the peace process.

Dureza reiterated Duterte's priority of bringing peace to the country. "You have to do a lot of effort and I think he (Duterte) will exercise great political will to see this happen," Dureza added.

During the change of command ceremony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Friday, July 1, Duterte declared, “My job is to bring peace. My job is to talk to the enemies of the state, to the Communist Party of the Philippines, to the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), and to the men, and see if I could make a difference in our lives.” 

Duterte also said, “We cannot fight forever. We do not have the weapons, the armor, the bullets or the mortars. My job is to bring peace, but hand in hand, I must also bring order to my land.” – Rappler.com