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Jurist Phillipines government reaches agreement with rebels to reset peace talks

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Nov 11, 2016
In a joint statement signed last Thursday but announced Tuesday, the government of the Philippines and communist group the National Democratic Front (NDFP) have reached an agreement to reset peace negotiations in an attempt to end a 50 year long conflict.

The agreement was facilitated by Norway and signed in Oslo by Philippines Special Advisor to the President Antonio Lagdemeo Jr., Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., and General Emmanuel Bautista, as well as NDFP representatives Luis Jalandoni, Julieta de Lima, and Coni Ledesma.

The statement cited “socioeconomic and environmental issues,” as well as “foreign security threats facing the country” as reasons for the reopening of peace negotiations that most recently stalled in 2017 when then President Rodrigo Duterte ended talks declaring the NDFP affiliated New Peoples Army (NPA) a terrorist organization. The NDFP praised the statement as affirming the “value of peace negotiations” for settling the armed conflict and working towards “socioeconomic and political reform.”

In comments to the press, Galvez, made a point to note that previous peace negotiations would not be renewed but would “start anew” and that he hoped that framework for a peace deal would be worked out by the “mid-first quarter” of next year.

The agreement brings hope to some that one of the longest armed conflicts in Asia will finally come to an end. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was founded by Jose Maria Sison in 1969 as a reaction to the widespread corruption, inequality, and brutality under the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Marcos Sr. ruled under martial law for nine out of the 21 years he was in power and committed numerous human rights abuses. The NPA, inspired by Maoist ideology, engaged in a guerilla war with the Marcos regime that continued after the dictators 1986 ousting against subsequent presidencies, causing significant civilian death and human rights violations from both sides.

At one point the movement was said to have swelled to include 26,000 fighters before weakening in the 1990s amid infighting and the loss of support from failing socialist governments worldwide. Today, the NPA is said to have less than 2,000 fighters while more than 40,000 lives have been lost amidst the conflict.

The statement also comes a year after the death of the CPP’s founder Sison. His widow Julieta de Lima, who signed the statement, further noted the road to peace in her statement:

The quest for genuine peace has no shortcuts…There are still many serious concerns and issues that need to be discussed, addressed and worked on by the Parties that would help advance the peace negotiations.
While Tuesday’s news is a welcome step toward a resolution over a decades long fight the Philippines continues to be rife with insurgencies from Islamic successionist movements, as well as other communist affiliated splinter groups.

The post Phillipines government reaches agreement with rebels to reset peace talks appeared first on JURIST - News.

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