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Government, NDF negotiators approve plan for peace talks.

Summary: Three substantive agenda are socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities of forces

Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent

Manila: The Philippines government and the communist peace negotiators have reached an agreement over direction of talks aimed at ending nearly five decades of insurgency.

Speaking from Oslo, Norway, where key leaders of the National Democratic Front (NDF) and government representatives have begun talks since October 6, Silvestre Bello III, head of the government panel, said the work to arrive at a common framework for negotiations has been difficult but achieved, nevertheless.

"The efforts extended by the RWC [Reciprocal Working Committees] and RWGs [Reciprocal Working Groups] of both panels are commendable. Exhibiting a great amount of patience, they worked round the clock and refused to be stymied by minor differences of opinions," said Bello, who also holds the post of Labour Secretary in the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"It was a roller-coaster ride but in the end, both parties reached their desired destination. Sharing a common vision, they were willing to walk the extra mile just to move the peace process forward," Bello added.

Negotiators laboured at working out a common framework and outlines for the last three substantive agenda that would comprise the final peace agreement.

These three substantive agenda are socio-economic reforms (CASER), political and constitutional reforms (PCR) and end of hostilities/disposition of forces (EOH/DOF).

The NDF and its politico-ideological backbone, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New Peoples' Army (NPA), had been trying to establish a socialist-national democratic government patterned along that established through a bloody Maoist-Marxist revolution by the Sandinistas of Nicaragua during the late 1980s.

But the Maoist peoples' war dragged on for decades hamperingin development in remote areas of the country.

The Philippine communist movement was put in a quandary on whether to continue on with the revolution or talk peace. Under the administration of Duterte, they were given a clearer option and better hopes as some of their leaders were appointed to positions in government by the new President.

The peace negotiations in Oslo are the second round in the talks under the Duterte administration.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EXNO
Date:Oct 9, 2016
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