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Dumaguete City, Philippines Thursday, August 18, 2016
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NDFP Visayas consultant
given temporary freedom

Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, the peace consultant for the Visayas of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, was granted temporary freedom yesterday for her to join the resumption of talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Communist Party of the Philippines, in Oslo, Norway.

Bocala, who is also the spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines regional committee in Panay Island, was released from prison in Iloilo City after posting bail of P400,000 for illegal possession of explosives and ammunition, murder, and two rebellion charges.

The peace talks in Oslo, Norway will be held August 20-27.

Bocala will fly to Manila tomorrow to process other legal documents and the visa for her Norway trip.

Bocala said that the peace talk will revolve on topics about socio-economic reforms, political reforms, and the disposition of forces.

She said she will bring before the peace panel issues such as the high unemployment and will push for subsidy for farmers, free education for students, minimum wage increase, improved social services, free hospitalization and medicines, among others.

Bocala was arrested August 2015 in Molo, Iloilo City, by joint forces of the Philippine Army's 3rd Infantry Division and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 6.

After the peace talks, Bocala is expected to return to the country and to report directly to the court.

The government peace panel is committed to thorough but accelerated peace negotiations with the NDFP.

“We take a cue from the President (Rodrigo Duterte). Our efforts are geared towards that direction (thorough discussion but in an accelerated way),” Librado said yesterday.

The GRP panel gets inspiration, openness and guidance from the President that the talks could be sustain within his six-year term, given his full commitment to achieve a just and lasting peace.

In the resumption of talks in Oslo, Librado said both panels are expected to fast track the remaining three substantive issues, namely the socioeconomic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the end to hostilities and disposition of forces.

The panels will discuss the affirmation of previously signed agreements, accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda, reconstitution of the JASIG list, amnesty proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners subject to concurrence by Congress, and the Mode of Interim ceasefire.

Antonio Arellano, who is the newest member of the government panel, emphasized on sustained peace negotiations, saying the government under the Duterte administration cannot afford to be a failed state.

Arellano is optimistic there are enough solutions to issues which are expected to be raised during the negotiations, under existing laws.

He said the Oslo talks would be a beginning of new negotiations, given that the peace talks with communist movement have been stalled several times.

The resumption of the GPH-NDF peace negotiations is getting support from various sectors.

The League of Cities of the Philippines gave its full support to the resumption of the peace negotiations with all armed groups in the country as one of the priorities of the Duterte administration.

The LCP noted that the "protracted people's war" being waged for more than 46 years has resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of rural folks, specifically the indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, farmers and farm workers, and the rural poor.

They cited Duterte's determination to end the armed conflict by addressing its root causes of poverty, injustice, lack of opportunity for the poor, and exploitation of the basic sectors perpetuated by the elite/oligarchs.*PNA

 

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