Duterte eyes ‘strategic shift’ in peace process

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Feb) – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte is eyeing a “strategic shift” under his term in order to address the decades-long insurgency and rebellion in the country.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Duterte, along with Dureza and Labor Secretary and government (GRP) chief peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III, met with Left-leaning cabinet members National Anti-Poverty Commission lead convener Liza Maza, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano at Malacañan Palace on Monday night to map out directions and possible steps in the peace process concerning the Communists Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP), Bangsamoro groups, and even the Cordillerans.

Dureza said that the President gave his instructions to the GRP peace panel what approach should be taken in the presentation after the cancellation of peace negotiations with the communists and the termination of the unilateral ceasefire declarations by the GRP and the NPA, the CPP’s armed wing.

“He lamented that the almost 50-year-old insurgency and conflict still continue to this day and vowed to work for a strategic shift during his incumbency,” he said.

Duterte also raised with the cabinet members the current developments in the Bangsamoro peace table and said he will lead the launch of the renewed effort to implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on February 24.

He emphasized the need to converge the different Moro groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and other Bangsamoro factions in a single road map for peace for the several Moro rebel groups.

“The President expressed support for the common and continuing aspiration for an Autonomous Region for the Cordillera and called on the people there to unite as one in making a final try at entrenching it as mandated by the Constitution,” Dureza said.

Duterte said that all panels must gather inputs from different stakeholders to make the reform agenda inclusive that “must eventually lead to the final goal of installing a federal system throughout the country.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)