By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, Philippines, 15June2016 – The much-anticipated preliminary talks between representatives of the incoming Duterte government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Oslo, Norway has started, sources from the NDFP panel said Wednesday.
The ‘informal’ meeting will pave the way for formal peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and NDFP negotiating panels once incoming President Rodrigo Duterte assumes office this July.
Incoming President Duterte’s negotiating team and NDFP representatives have already met yesterday in Oslo, Norway, and will engage in several more meetings in preparation for the resumption of formal peace negotiations next month.
Photos taken in the preliminary Oslo meeting were posted at social media, informing this online news BicolToday.com and other media outlets.
The “unofficial talks” will iron out kinks in the upcoming formal peace negotiations between GPF and NDFP this July, and to identify ‘talking points’ between the two negotiating panels, and other urgent matters that will lead to reforms and cessation of hostilities.
Incoming presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza posted on his Facebook wall a photo of the teams gathered around a table with the caption “And the talks begin.”
Dureza’s photo showed himself, incoming labor secretary Silvestre Bello III and incoming GPH peace panel member Hernani Braganza seated on the left side of the table.
The photo also showed NDFP panel chairperson Luis Jalandoni, chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, and panel member Coni Ledesma seated on the right side of the table.
A representative of the third party facilitator Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) was seated at the head of the table.
Meanwhile, NDFP legal consultant Edre Olalia’s photo on his own Facebook wall showed more meeting participants, including long-time GPH peace panel staff Carla Munsayac-Villarta, incoming Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao as observer, NDFP co-legal consultant Rachel Pastores, NDFP panel spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili, NDFP panel member Juliet de Lima and himself.
On June 10, Dureza announced on his Facebook wall that he was en route to Oslo for an “informal meeting with the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines / NPA (New People’s Army) / NDF.”
His trip with Bello and Braganza were upon instructions from Duterte to work for the early resumption of the stalled peace negotiations with the NDFP, Dureza said.
On June 13, the NDFP panel met with their Philippine and international lawyers as well as consultants at their international office in Utrecht, The Netherlands, in preparation for the meeting. [BicolToday.com]