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Peace talks sabotaged! NPA rebels agree to stand down deal before Duterte aborted negotiations – Zarate

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Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate accused peace saboteurs of delaying the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)” scheduled supposedly on June 28.

“The peace saboteurs monkey wrenched the peace negotiations even if there is already a joint stand-down agreement the NDFP signed with the government on June 8, as proof that the peace panels are serious in resuming the stalled talks,” said Zarate.

The Agreement on a Stand-Down for the Resumption of the Formal Peace Talks was signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who heads the government peace panel, and members Hernani Braganza and Angela Librado-Trinidad. While, NDF chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili and panel members Julieta de Lima and Asterio Palima signed it for the NDFP panel.

The joint stand down agreement stated that both parties – including their armed elements such us the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and the New People’s Army – agreed to a stand-down “in consideration of the forthcoming resumption of the formal peace talks, in order to provide through goodwill and confidence-building measures, the positive atmosphere conducive to moving forward and completing the peace negotiations and the implementation of agreements entered into or may be entered into.”

“Now the saboteurs are increasing their verbal and legal attacks against the peace negotiators of the NDFP by vilifying them as spoiled brats. Meanwhile, other peace spoilers are also pressuring the NDFP consultants to surrender,” said the progressive solon.

Five NDFP peace consultants – Benito Tiamzon, Adelberto Silva, Rafael Baylosis, Randall Echanis and Vicente Ladlad–were earlier allowed to travel abroad to participate in the negotiations as consultants of the National Democratic Front.

The Department of Justice argues that the safety and immunity guarantees extended to five jailed communist leaders no longer stands with the government poised to ask a Manila regional trial court to revoke their release order following President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to postpone the resumption of formal peace talks in Oslo.

“But this is absurd considering that Pres. Duterte said that the talks would not happen in June but maybe mid-July and a joint stand down agreement has already been signed. It is obvious that the peace saboteurs are trying all they can to pressure or arrest the consultants so that no talks can happen,” added the Davao-based solon.

“As they have done several times before, they are again doing it now. These peace saboteurs say they support the peace talks but in reality they are doing all they can to derail it. They quibble on side issues but do not address the basic issues that could judiciously end the armed conflict. Pres. Duterte should not listen to these peace spoilers, reject their hawkish overtures and immediately resume the peace talks,” said Zarate.