A political ally of President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday called on the government to pursue peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army.
In a press statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan said the government peace panel should to ride on the momentum the government gained with the framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
"We should keep pushing until we achieve peace on all fronts. Our people deserve no less," he said.
"Not since the Ramos administration has the possibility of total peace been within reach. Back then, the country was enjoying international recognition as an emerging tiger in Asia," he added.
The Philippine has been holding peace negotiations with the mainstream communist group since 1986, when President Aquino's mother, the late Corazon Aquino, assumed the presidency.
Alex Padilla, head of the panel talking peace with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, said talks will most likely resume before the year ends.
"We are still awaiting word from the Royal Norwegian government [on] the date when the informal talks can be resumed at anytime before the end of this year," Padilla said in a text message to GMA News Online.
In June 2012, Padilla met with the leadership of the NDFP on the invitation of the Royal Norwegian government in an attempt to revive the negotiations.
During the meeting, the two parties agreed to meet informally to tackle the issues and concerns that have caused an impasse in the peace negotiations since February 2011.
Padilla raised the government's issues and concerns such as ceasefire or at least the lowering of the levels of violence, especially against civilians and business establishments.
On their part, the NDFP, led by chairman Luis Jalandoni and chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, pressed for the release of most, if not all, of the 14 political detainees it claims to be consultants in the peace process.
In the same statement, Pangilinan credited the Aquino government's track record of upholding good governance and the President's popularity with the masses as key factors in the government panel's securing a new peace pact with the MILF.
He believes the government should use the same leverage in resuming talks with the CPP-NPA.
Pangilinan said that should the government make a breakthrough with the MILF and the CPP-NPA within the next year, it would be enough for countrywide economic progress to start manifesting itself.
He said poverty is the number one reason for social unrest and it cannot be addressed as long as there is war anywhere in the country. — Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News