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BINDING ONLY AFTER RELEASE
NDF now willing to sign bilateral truce before political prisoners’ release
 

Published December 10, 2016 9:39pm
By ERWIN COLCOL, GMA News
 

 

The National Democratic Front (NDF) is now willing to sign a bilateral peace agreement with the government before the release of all political prisoners, an official of the communist group said Saturday.

"We are willing to sign it even ahead, but of course he (President Rodrigo Duterte) has to make a commitment and he has to implement it," NDF adviser Luis Jalandoni told GMA News Online at the International Human Rights Day protest at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.

"The NDFP will insist the release of political prisoners, [is] willing to sign a bilateral ceasefire, but Duterte has to release all political prisoners within 48 hours," Jalandoni said. "And the agreement becomes binding and effective upon the release of all the political prisoners."

The NDF is demanding the release of at least 400 political prisoners as part of the peace negotiations with the government.

The government has only released 21 rebel leaders since the peace talks with the NDF resumed.

The NDF said in a recent statement that "the release of political prisoners is not merely a goodwill measure but a matter of justice and compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law which both parties signed in 1998."

Duterte said last Tuesday promised that he will release more political prisoners 48 hours after the NDF had signed a bilateral peace agreement with the government.

Duterte reiterated the statement on Thursday.

"I have conceded to the communists too much too soon. As yet, I have yet to see a substantive progress in the talks. They are asking for 130 detainees to be released... Sorry, I cannot do that," Duterte said.

The government's peace panel holding talks with the NDF had submitted a list of 200 prisoners to be releaed, under the new guidelines of the Presidential Committee on Bail, Recognizance and Parole (PCBREP).

Twenty-five of the political prisoners are elderly, sick and women.

The government and the NDF have standing unilateral ceasefires signed in August in Oslo, Norway.

The talks is scheduled to resume in Italy in January. —ALG, GMA News
 

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