- President Rodrigo Duterte and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria 'Joma' Sison have been hurling insults at each other after the former declared a unilateral ceasefire
- The verbal war did not stop the president from gathering Sison's colleagues in Malacañang for a 'friendly gathering'
- Both panels had a meeting for two hours, which has been described as 'positive' and 'cordial'
One ear in, one ear out.
That was what happened now that President Rodrigo Duterte has convened with the Reds again in Malacañang last Monday evening.
Recently, he and CPP leader Joma Sison had a heated exchange after the former lifted the government's unilateral ceasefire after the latter did not reciprocate the action within a given time.
READ ALSO: CPP ends support on drug war
However, peace process adviser Jesus Dureza said the president will not let his and Sison's words get in the way of the ongoing peace talks, which would resume formally this month.
“The President said while he was hurt by the sharp exchanges…he gave assurances that he will walk the extra mile for peace,” Dureza stated.
(photo credit: viralhungry.com)
Earlier, the peace process adviser also stated that even if the ceasefire has been lifted, that does not mean that talks between the two panels should stop. Instead, both could work on a possible truce when they convene again.
Peace talks were also one of Duterte's priorities, aside from the ongoing war against drugs.
"(The President) said he is fully committed to pursue and achieve peace during his term and look for ways to allow those in detention to participate. He discussed very passionately his campaign against illegal drugs and his intent to fulfill his campaign promises, including the holding of the peace talks," Dureza added.
Members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines' (NDFP) peace panel mingled with their government equivalents in a friendly gathering', which was graced by NDFP spokesman Fidel Agcaoili, laywer Edre Olaila and former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, who is also an NDFP consultant.
Two members of the government panel were also present in the event, such as Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morante and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Duterte has released some of its consultants, who assured that they will be joining the rest of their members in the formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway.
He also directed officials from immigration and foreign affairs to help these consultants in their upcoming flight.
Some of these released consultants are Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, who serves as CPP's chair and secretary general respectively.
The two will be crucial in the upcoming talks since it has been revealed that they also have a huge control of the organization. It has been reported that there are sides within the group - one favoring Sison and one favoring the Tiamzons.
(Photo credit: bulatlat.com)
Both parties had a two-hour meeting in which the president asked for their input on how to 'address the root of rebellion in the countryside.'
READ ALSO: SC declines release petition for 11 rebels
It has been known that the New People's Army, despite their diminished number, continue to create havoc in the countryside through banditry and protection rackets.
Duterte also assured the release of three communist leaders who have been convicted of common crimes.
(Photo credit: rappler.com)
"He said he would go another mile to do something about it, but there’s no commitment. He also agreed that the CPP leaders should not be charged with common crimes because they were actually waging a rebellion," Satur Ocampo said. Otherwise, the meeting was well-received by the other panel. According to Olaila, it was 'positive, warm, cordial' and both parties had a 'conversational and humorous exchange'.
Otherwise, the meeting was well-received by the other panel. According to Olaila, it was 'positive, warm, cordial' and both parties had a 'conversational and humorous exchange'. -Kami Media