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PH talks with communist rebels remain stalled

Talks between the government and communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) have remained stalled because of the two sides’ failure to break an impasse over a communist demand for the release of political prisoners.

In an report, Ednar Dayanghirang said the government is not likely to release the prisoners even if the NDF keeps insisting that they are covered by a previous deal called Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity (Jasig).

Despite the impasse, Dayanghirang said the government was firm in resuming talks with the NDF possibly in the early part of 2012, the report said.

In a statement posted on the NDF website, the Communist Party of the Philippines said it increasingly doubts that a peace agreement could be signed within the term of President Aquino because of the stern refusal of the government to release the political prisoners.

“It is becoming increasingly doubtful that the government will succeed in forging a peace agreement with the NDF due to its adamant refusal to comply with its standing obligations, particularly its commitment in January, February and September to release the detained consultants of the NDF covered by the Jasig,” the CPP statement read.

“The release of NDF’s Jasig-protected consultants is a matter of palabra de honor (word of honor) on the part of the government,” the CPP said.

Despite the ongoing efforts of the government to pursue peace negotiations, the rebel group has been engaging in heightened acts of violence including the attack on three mining sites in Surigao del Norte, the hostage taking of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) jail guards in Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental, Mayor Henry Dano of Lingig, Surigao del Sur and six mat vendors from Initao, Misamis Oriental.

More recently, the group launched an attack against Victory Liner, supposedly for not paying revolutionary taxes, burning down a dozen of buses in Tarlac province.

SecurityMatters has said that the attacks undertaken by the rebels undermine the ongoing peace negotiations. Unless the communist rebels stop its offensive and start to show sincerity, the peace talks appear to stay stalled for quite some time.