Update (5:03 p.m.)
Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza on Thursday said the scheduled resumption of peace talks between the government and the communist rebels would not push through.
“The supposed resumption of talks will not happen as originally set and announced,” Dureza said in a Palace briefing.
The renewed peace negotiation was originally scheduled on June 28.
Dureza said the National Democratic Front and Norway, the third party facilitator of the talks, have been informed of the cancellation.
“In our common effort to make sure that we achieve a conducive and enabling environment for peace, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed us last night to engage our bigger “peace table” – the general public as well as other sectors in government as we work to negotiate peace with the communist rebels,” Dureza said.
He said there is a need to “listen” to the public before finalizing the deal.
“There is a need to engage the public all the more and get their support before we are able to put out certain agreements with the leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said.
Dureza said that coming up with a peace agreement would be useless without the support of the public, so the government peace panel “would go and listen to the public.”
“[For] our peace efforts to succeed, [it] should have good support from the general public. Hence, it is necessary that all efforts be exerted to inform and engage them in the same way the government engages the rebels [to] address the root causes of conflict,” he said.
He added that the government would like to take advantage of this “last opportunity and [ensure that] we don’t squander it.”
Dureza likewise emphasized that the government is determined “to put a dignified closure to the armed rebellion [and that this opportunity] will not be squandered away.”
“The government peace panel, in cooperation with the private sector, will continue its efforts to “engage” those who earnestly seek peace,” he said.
“We are now at the cusp of some major breakthroughs in the peace talks, hence, the urgent need now to take deliberate steps to ensure that we do not falter,” he added.
Sustainable and lasting peace, he said, would happen only when our people understand and support these efforts. /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.