The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte asks gov’t, NDF to agree on “clear parameters” for ceasefire, peace talks

March 14, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte is asking the government and the communist rebel group peace panels to agree on "clear parameters" for the ceasefire and the peace talks following the fresh attacks by the New People's Army (NPA). According to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, this was one of the matters discussed during the meeting of the executive committee of the National Security Council, which Duterte presided over on Monday night. "To ensure that genuine peace talks are realized, the president asked both panels to agree on clear parameters for ceasefire and the talks," Abella said in a press briefing. Despite announcement over the weekend regarding the agreement of the peace panels of both the government and the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA, to resume the peace talks, five policemen were wounded in an ambush allegedly by leftist rebels. "I think that’s actually the reason why the President insisted that clear parameters be set so that they themselves are able to work within these parameters which is clear, because formerly there were no clear parameters," Abella said. Duterte, in a press conference on Monday, said his decision previously to terminate the peace process with the NDF was "not really a fait accompli statement." "Because as a Filipino, I am still interested to prevent a slaughter by a Filipino to a Filipino," he said. Duterte terminated the peace talks with the Maoist group early last month after the ambuscades by the rebels, resulting to the death of six government troopers despite the existing unilateral ceasefires by both sides. Other issues discussed during the NSC meeting were the West Philippine Sea issue and the anti-illegal drugs campaign. During the meeting, the president approved the enhanced National Security Policy 2017-2022 (NSP) to be a guide for the government bureaucracy in the efforts that’s safeguarding and promoting Philippine national security interests, Abella said. "More importantly, this version of the NSP now directs the national security sector to be aligned with and in tandem with the recently approved Philippine Development Plan," he said. Regarding the West Philippine Sea issue, he said Duterte gave his full support to the improvement of capabilities of law enforcement agencies in monitoring Philippine air space and territorial waters. The president also reiterated his resolve to address the drug problem within his term, he added. Abella said Duterte directed the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the National Bureau of Investigation to be more actively involved in the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-led anti-drug operations, together with the military and the police. Celerina Monte/DMS