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Makabayan to admin: No preconditions to peace talks with Left

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Two members of the Makabayan bloc on Thursday welcomed the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to resume peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), but warned against the government setting any preconditions.

“Again, we reiterate our call of no pre-conditions, yet, for both parties to respect past binding commitments and agreements,” Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said.

He expressed “guarded optimism” about Duterte’s order to resume the stalled peace negotiations, saying he hopes it would forge binding agreements to finally address the roots of the armed conflict.

“This is a very crucial opportunity and we hope both parties, as well as the third party facilitator, the Royal Norwegian Government, the peace consultants, cooperators and staff, can immediately buckle down to work and resume this tedious but necessary process,” Zarate said.

“The Filipino people should also be very vigilant to guard against peace spoilers and saboteurs who malign and attack the peace negotiations while pushing for an all out war. This kind of thinking is very dangerous and anathema to our quest for a just and lasting peace in our country,” he added.

Anakpawis partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao said Duterte’s order was a “good move,” but he also urged the president not to press for any preconditions as it will only impede the talks.

“Pres. Duterte should put premium to the interest of the masses of peasants, workers, urban poor and other sectors which will benefit from the resumption of the peace talks as it pushes for social reform that would uplift their social conditions,” he said.

“Putting pre-conditions would be a hindrance and likely to be exploited by peace spoilers like Defense Sec. Lorenzana,” Casilao said.