Vice Mayor Duterte asked to sit as observer in GPH-NDF talks

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 Feb) –Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has been asked to sit as an observer in the peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front and the Philippine government, Mayor Sara Duterte said Thursday night.

”The vice mayor will be invited as an observer and as need arises will contribute his two-cents worth on dealing with the insurgency,” the younger Duterte said during the opening of the consultation workshop for the drafting of the Mindanao People’s Agenda for the government and NDF peace talks.

The government and NDF peace panels are in Oslo, Norway for formal talks that started February 15 and will end on the 21st.

Duterte said the idea was brought up to them informally but that the vice mayor is willing. ”I’m not privy to the official communications yet but the vice mayor is willing,” she said.

The mayor said she had taken advantage of the ceasefire early this week to visit New People’s Army (NPA) leader Kumander Parago in the hinterlands of Paquibato.

She said the NPA leader briefed her of the demands of the national democratic movement and what they wanted to achieve of the peace
talks, which include among others, the genuine agrarian reform and social justice to the majority of people who are poor.

”It (the meeting) was pleasant and their issues were legitimate,” said Duterte, who went to the rebel camp with her father, vice mayor
Rodrigo Duterte. She told the NPAs, though, that she remained on the side of the government and that the NPA leaders respected her stand.
Parago was with another ranking NPA leader during the meeting with the mayor and vice mayor.

The ongoing talks in Oslo will tackle the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (Caser) after both panels shall have activated the joint monitoring committee for the review of the alleged v iolations of past agreements, such as the Comprehensive Agreement on
the Respect of Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)