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Solons file resolution calling to resume peace talks with communists 

THE PEACE panels of the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines hold an informal meeting in Oslo, Norway in 2016. — JESUS DUREZA FACEBOOK PAGE 

THREE OPPOSITION lawmakers on Wednesday filed a resolution calling for a resumption of peace talks with the communist movement.   

“The quest for a just and lasting peace should compel us legislators and peace advocates to push for the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines),” reads the still unnumbered House resolution.  

It was filed by members of the Makabayan bloc in the lower chamber composed of Deputy Minority Leader France L. Castro, Assistant Minority Leader Arlene D. Brosas, and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel.  

The NDFP, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), led previous negotiations with the government.   

The resolution cited the 1992 Hague Joint Declaration and the 2018 Stand-Down Agreement, wherein the military, police and New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed wing, are bound by “temporary cessation of hostilities in which the contending armed units and personnel of the Parties stay where they are… take an active defense mode, and shall not commit any offensive action or operation against combatants and civilians.”  

Members of the peace talks panel were also bound to sign the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reform (CASER), which contained “common drafts of an agreement on land reform and rural development and on national industrialization and economic development,” lawmakers said in a statement.  

Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte revived peace talks with the communists in 2016, only to terminate them in 2017 due to reported attacks on government troops by members of the NPA.  

The peace panel was abolished in March 2018. 

In December 2018, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict was established to pursue localized peace talks and lead the rollout of social and economic programs in communities declared as free from NPAs.   

The task force had been controversial in the past two years for tagging alleged communist supporters without basis, and failing to provide appropriate reports on its budget spending. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz 

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