Chief government negotiator Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III on Monday will submit to President Rodrigo Duterte the draft documents that will be tabled for discussion during the 3rd rounds of peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) when negotiations resume on January 19-25 in Rome, Italy.
“We are all set and ready to engage the NDF in the discussion of all substantive agenda including supplemental agreements needed to proceed and arrive at a peaceful negotiated political settlement to end the armed conflict in the country,” Bello said.
The government panel will pay a courtesy call to the president in Malacañang before leaving Monday evening.
Among the documents to be submitted to the president are draft agreements and principles for socio-economic reforms (CASER), comprehensive agreement on political and constitutional reforms, and comprehensive agreement on end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
“We are doing this in the spirit of true reconciliation and genuine quest for just and lasting peace,” Bello explained.
Bello said he is confident major breakthroughs will again be achieved in the Rome talks.
“We are prepared to sign side and other agreements while we are discussing contents and provisions of the major substantive agenda,” the chief government negotiator added.
Bello, who is also labor secretary, explained that government is all set to sign a supplemental agreement on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which will include an expanded role of the a Joint Monitoring Committee.
“And we are challenging the NDF to formalize the unilateral ceasefire with a bilateral ceasefire agreement to give our communities and combatants a more secure environment for the peace process,” Bello added.
The main group of government (GRP) delegation leaves for Rome on Tuesday, January 17 for the opening the following Thursday.
Peace negotiations with the NDF were resumed in August after more than 5 years of impasse following the election of President Duterte.
In the August round when the negotiations were reopened, both panels agreed to reaffirm all previous signed agreements and reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Agreements (JASIG) and release of NDF leaders and members.
In the second round also in Oslo, Norway, negotiators exchanges outlines and agreed to accelerate the negotiations.
The government is confident it can strike a peace deal with the communist-led NDF, which counts among its member organization the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).