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Talks on ceasefire pending peace negotiations

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Talks on ceasefire pending peace negotiations
« on: October 29, 2020, 11:49:41 PM »
By EA Delgado

MASBATE CITY (2 December 2020) -- The Masbate Provincial Peace and Order Council will be knocking on the door of leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army for talks on ceasefire pending peace negotiations on the national level between the government and the National Democratic Front.

The decision came during the recent PPOC meeting held at the Office of the Governor after Vice Governor Vicente Homer B. Revil and SP Board member Silas V. Laurio declared their readiness to hold talks with rebel leaders to look into the possibility of declaring certain areas in Masbate as "zones of peace".

Once an area is declared as a zone of peace, it will be off-limits to armed rebels and government troopers to avoid encounters in the area.

The possible zones of peace nor the criteria for declaring an area as such were not immediately determined, but Revil, who presided over the meeting, said the purpose of creating peace zones is to allow the uninterrupted human activities to prevail in areas where economic and social development are taking place.

In the same meeting, Laurio proposed the creation of a provincial unification committee to take initial steps in extending the offer to local CPP-NPA leaders.

Laurio, who is also chair of the committee on peace and order of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, asked the Police Provincial Office to facilitate issuance of safe conduct passes to whoever will be designated by the rebels to the negotiating table.

Revil expressed concern over the safety of negotiators from both sides, considering that there are other government forces in the province operating independently from the police force.

Composition of the committee has not yet been finalized but the council was considering membership of the representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the media, Fr. Emmnauel B. Basas who is diocesan social action director, the vice governor, and Laurio.

The peace offer will be the fourth attempt of local government leaders in Masbate to strike a peace agreement with CPP-NPA leaders here since the 1986 Edsa Revolution.

Soon after the Edsa Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, CPP-NPA leaders here sit down with local government leaders but later abandoned the negotiating table.

In 1992, then Masbate Governor Emilio Espinosa, Jr. initiated a peace negotiation with rebel leaders here, but after a few meeting between the unification committee and local CPP-NPA leaders, the talks bogged down.

Only three years ago, Masbate Governor Antonio Kho expressed intention to initiate peace negotiations with CPP-NPA leaders here in response to the bombings perpetrated in Baleno and Esperanza towns by the underground movement. The CPP-NPA leaders did not react to the peace negotiation offered.

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