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PHL gov’t, NDFP had agreed on unilateral ceasefire last year, says Joma

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison has disclosed that the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) had came up with a draft agreement on unilateral ceasefire in October last year.

"Since October 4, 2017, the NDFP has positively responded to the expressed desire of GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) to draft a ceasefire agreement more effective and more sustained than the previous unilateral ceasefires," Sison said in a statement Wednesday.

"Thus, the GRP and NDFP back channel teams have already drafted an agreement on coordinated unilateral ceasefire to be monitored by a joint ceasefire committee of the GRP and NDFP at the national level," he added.

Sison, on self-exile in the Netherlands, expressed hopes that when the two parties meet again for peace talks, it will be easier for them to finalize the draft agreements and sign them.

"This agreement on coordinated unilateral ceasefire is in the same package of draft agreements, including the draft amnesty to release all NDFP-listed political prisoners in compliance with CARHRIHL and the drafts of such major parts of CASER as Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED)," Sison said.

"I am sure that the enabling environment for the successful conduct of the peace negotiations would ensue from the finalization and signing of the draft agreements in the aforesaid package," he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte has officially terminated the government's peace negotiations with the communist rebels in November last year. On March 6, he said he would consider resuming peace negotiations with the rebels if they will declare a "ceasefire."

More than 60 lawmakers have called on Duterte to resume the peace negotiations with the communist group, noting that the GRP and the NDFP have reached "remarkable and unparalleled headway" when it comes to peace talks. -- Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News

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