60-day peace window with Joma still open: Duterte

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DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said the 60-day timeframe for peace talks between him and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding Chairperson Jose Maria Sison remains open but the possible resumption of peace negotiations is still uncertain.

“I don’t know for the next step,” Duterte said, emphasizing the agreed agreements to resume talks including a no coalition government. “But I do not disarm them.”

The President said he stands firm on no power-sharing or a coalition government with the communists, saying it is not within his authority to concede some powers of government.

Duterte said he has been reviewing the entire peace agreements including the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), a key agreement between the government and the NDF which guarantees the legal immunity of rebel peace negotiators.

“When you sum it up, it boils down to power-sharing or coalition government, which I cannot give to them because it is not within the power of the presidency to concede anything as important as authority,” he said during the inauguration of the Malayan Colleges Mindanaon here.

Since he wanted the talks to be in the country, the President had asked Sison to return home, guaranteeing his safe travel and stay in the country.

If nothing happens on the resumption of the peace talks, Duterte said “rebellion of the communist party will go on.”

Earlier, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said any resumption of talks remains subject to the demands of Duterte.

He said aside from stopping the NPA’s collection of revolutionary taxes, Duterte wanted no coalition government with the communist rebels.

Dureza added that localized peace arrangements may be pursued by local government units with insurgents in their respective areas of responsibility.

According to Dureza, this “way forward” in the stalled peace talks was decided upon, following the consolidation of various positions expressed during the command conference convened by Duterte last week.- PNA

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