(Statement of Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza on peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF)
In our common effort to make sure that we achieve a conducive and enabling environment for peace, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed us last night to engage our bigger “peace table” – the general public as well as other sectors in government as we work to negotiate peace with the communist rebels.
Consequently, the initial timeline that our backchannel team had worked on with their counterparts (CPP/NPA/NDF ) “across the table” had to be necessarily re-adjusted.
We are resetting the planned backchannel and panel meetings to a later date. Our peace efforts to succeed should have good support from the general public hence it is necessary that all efforts be exerted to inform and engage them in the same way as the government engages the rebels in addressing the root causes of conflict.
The almost 50 years of intermittentand often-times disrupted peace negotiations with the communist rebels across several presidencies need a close study for lessons to learn from to insure that our “last chance” to put a dignified closure to the armed rebellion will not be squandered away.
The government peace panel in cooperation with the private sector will continue on its efforts to “engage” those who earnestly seek peace. But it is equally important that the stakeholders on the ground must also be equally engaged through consultations to ensure that all those consensus points and agreements forged in the negotiations table have palpable support from them.
We are now at the cusp of some major breakthroughs in the peace talks hence the urgent need now to take deliberate steps to ensure that we do not falter. Just, sustainable and lasting peace will happen only when our people understand and support these efforts.