Leftist rebels question Philippine gov't's sincerity in pursuing peace negotiations

15:23, May 29, 2011      

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National Democratic Front (NDF) chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni has questioned the sincerity of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III in pursuing peace negotiations with the leftist rebels due to its failure to release a number of NDF consultants.

In a statement, Netherlands-based Jalandoni said the 17 detainees, led by Tirso Alcantara, are still in government custody, four months after government negotiators agreed to work for their "expeditious release."

The government has signed a joint communique with the NDF, political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to work for the release of those people who are serving as NDF consultants and those who are covered by protection under the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

"The sincerity of the government of the Philippines under President 'Noynoy' Aquino is under serious question because of the failure to release Alan Jazmines and other Consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and JASIG- protected persons," said Jalandoni.

Jalandoni said the government should also comply with its commitment during the formal peace negotiations in February "to undertake steps to release of prisoners and detainees."

He said 340 political prisoners are still detained, awaiting concrete actions from the government in relation to the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The New People's Army (NPA), armed wing of the CPP, has been waging a guerrilla campaign in the countryside for more than four decades. The Philippine military estimates that there are some 4, 700 NPA guerrilla fighters scattered in more than 60 provinces throughout the Southeast Asian country.

In Feburary, the Philippine government and the leftist rebels resumed in Oslo, Norway the formal peace talks, which had been suspended for six years, in a bid to bring an end to the protracted insurgency.

Source: Xinhua
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