Draft EO eyes local peace deals with Reds

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The government will pursue localized peace talks which will be a policy to be contained in an Executive Order to be signed by President Duterte.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a briefing the EO will spell out the guidelines for the localized peace talks.

A unique content of the EO is allowing local negotiators to hold a confidential dialogue with a combatant rebel who desires to lie low without documentation and who will not avail himself of the peace package, Roque said.

The drafting of the EO was among the agreements reached at the Cabinet security cluster meeting that included Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and some members of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP).

Under the EO, local officials will be given the authority to negotiate peace in their areas, Roque said.

The localized peace engagement will be nationally orchestrated, centrally directed and locally supervised and implemented, Roque said.

In the event Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CCP) founder Joma Sison does not agree with the government’s condition to hold the peace talks in the Philippines, this guiding framework will aid local government officials in their engagement with communists, Roque said.

“Constitutional integrity and sovereignty will not be compromised in the complete and genuine resolution of the local armed conflict,” Roque said.

“If there is a ceasefire, the constitutional mandate of the state to protect public safety, civilian welfare, critical infrastructure and private properties and the guarantee of rule of law and order will also not be compromised,” Roque said.

Amnesty to be offered

He added a full amnesty package based on disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration to society will be provided under the terms of the EO.

“The necessary enabling environment set by the President for formal local talks to proceed which are local venue, no demand for a coalition government or power-sharing, no revolutionary taxes, extortion, arson and violent activities and for the fighters to remain in pre-designated encampment areas will have to be in place,” he said.

“The substantive agenda will be based on the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan and Philippine Development Program 2040,” Roque added.

Similar to negotiations at the national level, there will still be a third party in the localized peace talks, Roque said.