MANILA—The Department of National Defense (DND) gladly welcomed back-channeling moves that aim to restart the stalled peace talks between the government and National Democratic Front (NDF)
DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made this statement during the first-ever “Kapihan sa Kampo” held at the Honor Hall of the National Defense College of the Philippines, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Thursday.
This was in reference to Presidential Adviser to the Peace Process Jesus Dureza’s trip to Europe Wednesday to do back-channeling moves with NDF negotiators Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and Vicente Ladlad.
“So yesterday, Secretary Dureza left for Europe again and last night, we allowed the departure of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and Mr. Ladlad to also do some back-channeling. A lot of people are urging us, that before we will go back to the formal peace talks, back-channeling must first take place so that we will already have a concrete proposal from each side acceptable by both sides,” Lorenzana said in Filipino.
Prior to restarting negotiations with the NDF, President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he wants the rebels to sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government, stop extortion attempts against businessmen and release all their prisoners and hostages, especially the military personnel.
“We in the military and the defense welcome this development because we want to stop the fighting in the hinterlands and in the rural areas so we can bring development,” the DND chief stressed.
The Duterte administration on Feb. 4 suspended its peace talks with the NDF in wake of several unprovoked attacks by rebel forces against military and civilian targets early that month.
These offensives resulted in the death of six unarmed troopers and capture of three and destruction of millions worth of farm, engineering and commercial equipment.