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Resumption of talks with communists likely, says Bello

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday said peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the communists' political arm, may resume soon.

According to GMA News’ Sandra Aguinaldo, Bello said he personally visited Communist Party of the Philippines founder Joma Sison and NDF senior adviser Luis Jalandoni in The Netherlands, where they agreed to iron out the possibility of the resumption of peace talks.

“More or less magkakaroon ng resumption, pero how, when, anong mga process, what the process will be are still to be determined,” Bello told reporters.



Peace negotiations between the government and communist groups were suspended in 2017 after President Rodrigo Duterte decried the rebels’ continuous attacks on troops and civilians.

The president ordered Bello to fly to The Netherlands last December 5 in a move that opened doors to the resumption of the talks.

On Tuesday, however, Sison said in a statement that the Duterte administration is not really interested in resuming peace talks after the government set a precondition to hold negotiations in the Philippines.  

“It is highly probable that Duterte's offer of peace negotiations, preconditioned by resuming them in the Philippines, is a prelude to the escalation of attacks against the people and the revolutionary forces,” Sison claimed. —Julia Mari Ornedo/LDF, GMA News