STORY OF THE DAY


PRES. DUTERTE TO POSSIBLY MEET WITH NDFP PEACE NEGOTIATORS



President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that he may have a meeting with two peace negotiators of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army.

During his speech in Puerto Princesa on Saturday, President Duterte said NDFP negotiating panel Fidel Agcaoili, and NDFP senior adviser Luis Jalandoni want to have a meeting with him but were worried that they might be captured if they returned to the country.

The president said, he had consulted the military over the proposed meeting, adding that he will make the final announcement when he returns from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Singapore and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economic leaders' meeting in Papua New Guinea.

Meanwhile, Agcaoli confirmed this as they welcome the opportunity to meet with the President – unless he does not want to or the military go against the proposal.

According to Agcaoli, he would be accompanied by Coni Ledesma and Jalandoni next month for a series of meetings in relation to their work as members of joint monitoring committee under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The agreement, which seeks to preserve human dignity despite the violent condition of the conflict, was signed by the government and the NDFP in which its mechanisms still stand despite the cancelled negotiations.

He added, they are also set to meet with Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Bjørn Jahnsen as the Royal Norwegian government is the third party facilitator of the peace process.

The offer from the NDFP came after the arrest of NDFP peace consultant Vicente Ladlad and two others in Quezon City over alleged illegal possession of firearms.

Earlier, the Palace reiterated that all NDFP consultants who used to be covered by a safety conduct pass will be arrested following the collapse of the peace talks.

It can be recalled that the president terminated the peace talks between the government and the NDFP with the signing of Proclamation No. 360 in November 2017 citing the rebels' supposed "acts of violence and hostilities."

The government had since pursued a localized peace talks with the communist rebels while awaiting the executive order from the president.