Members of the negotiating panel from the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines are in Dumaguete City to give updates on the peace process that was stalled last month.
Rafael Baylosis, of the NDFP reciprocal working committee on social and economic reforms of the peace process, said the indefinite postponement was due to government’s refusal to release five more of its consultants in various jails in the country.
He said four have already been released and NDFP is asking for five more for the talks to resume.
However, Baylosis said the NDFP panel and leadership are still earnest and very desirous to continue with the peace negotiations on the second substantive agenda and even on the third political agenda which concerns constitutional reforms to achieve lasting peace.
Ednar Dayanghirang, member of the government peace panel for talks with the CPP/NPA/NDFP, and chairman of the reciprocal working committee on economic and social reforms, said government cannot act on NDFP’s demand by guessing on the legitimacy of the so-called consultants without verified pictures.
Dayanghirang said government has to use the established verification process to make sure that only legitimate NDFP consultants are freed.
He also said a third party, which is the government of Norway, is doing well in trying to break the impasse.
The Justice and Peace Center that initiated the all-university convocation said their principle is to present both sides.
JPC executive director Muriel Montenegro said they hope to create a critical mass of peace constituents to push the two panels to go back to the negotiating table.*JG
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