Senator meets NDF officials in Netherlands

July 9, 2011

Gilbert P. Felongco
Gulf News
July 9, 2011

Started in 1969, the Communist Party of the Philipines-NDF-NPA insurgency is considered as one of the longest running insurgencies in existence

Manila: A senator met with top officials of the communist-led Philippine insurgency movement recently while the government lead negotiator said they expect to wrap up the touchy topic of socio-economic reforms by October.

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni and Jose Maria Sison, NDF Chief Political Consultant met with Senator Francis Pangilinan last July 7 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

“Sen. Pangilinan came on his account as a senate official of the Government of the Philippines in order to promote the government-NDFP peace negotiations and encourage the holding of formal talks between the government and NDF Negotiating Panels,” a joint statemet posted in the NDFP website and signed by th three said.

During the meeting between the Senator and the NDF leaders, Pangilinan presented for the consideration of the NDF his proposals for solving socio-economic and political problems. Jalandoni for his part, assured the senator that the NDF leadership and the and its negotiating panel would seriously study his proposals.

Jalandoni and Pangilinan both agreed that there is urgent need for the peace negotiations to move forward in the face of the serious problems of the Philippines and address economic and social problems with comprehensive agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms.

Stumbling clock

It can be recalled that after the positive developments following the resumption of peace negotiations between the government of President Benigno Aquino III and the NDF early this year, the talks encoundered a stumbling block when the insurgents demanded the release of 17 so-called political prisoners from military custody.

Some of the political prisoners are facing criminal charges.

In the joint statement, Pangilinan vowed to held in seeking the release of the 17 prisoners.

Pangilinan also committed to discuss this matter with the government negotiating together with the issue of the possibility of Aquino granting amnesty to political prisoners.

The peace negotiations between the government and the NDF had been divided into several topics and these include socio-economic reforms. Negotiators from both sides were discussing this issue when the talks were interrupted by the NDF’s demand for the release of the political prisoners which also included some of the negotiators.

For his part, Alexander Padilla, chief negotiator for the government, said that barring further interruptions, they expect to wrap up the topic of socio-economc reforms by October this year.

Padilla, in an interview aired over the government radio station dzRB, said it is necessary for both sides to finish discussions on socio-economic reforms in October since other topics have been lined up for negotiations. Among these are disarmament and a formal end to hostilities.

Although both sides have expressed desire for peace, clashes between government forces and the NPA across most parts of the country continue with undiminished intensity.

Started in 1969, the Communist Party of the Philipines-NDF-NPA insurgency is considered as one of the longest running insurgencies in existence.

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