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PACMAN TO DRILON: IF YOU SURVIVE 3 ROUNDS, I'LL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS
[RELATED: Pacquiao mulls granting [Olympic silver medalist] Diaz incentives from his own pocket]


AUGUST 18 -Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon and Neophyte Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS
It’s the world boxing champion versus the “Big Man” at the Senate on Wednesday. The face-off happened after neophyte Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao sponsored a resolution on the floor, commending and honoring Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz for winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. After Pacquiao’s sponsorship speech, Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon stood up and asked the neophyte senator if he could entertain some questions. But the boxing icon was apparently hesitant to take questions from the vetaran senator. “Bakit ayaw mo? Madali lang, Madali lang Manny. Isang question lang dali. Katuwaan lang (Why don’t you want? It would be easy, many. It’s just one question. It’s just for fun),” Drilon was heard off-mic telling the neophyte senator. After prodding by some colleagues, Pacquiao returned to the floor and said: “Mr. President, I’m willing to yield (to some questions from my colleague) if he can survive three rounds.” Pacquiao’s remark elicited laughter from the gallery. It turned out later that Drilon just simply wanted to ask Pacquaio if he was willing to give Diaz cash incentives from his own pocket. After all, the Senate has approved Drilon’s motion to give the silver medalist a cash incentive from the savings of the chamber. READ MORE...RELATED,
Pacquiao mulls granting Diaz incentives from his own pocket...

ALSO: Pacquiao - Forgive Marcos, bury him at Libingan
[RELATED: ‘Crying Lady’: It’s destiny that I saw Ninoy killing 33 years ago]


AUGUST 15 -Manny Pacquiao delivers his first privilage speech concerning the reimposition of the death penalty at the Senate floor on Monday, August 8, 2016. FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
INVOKING again the name of God, Senator Manny Pacquiao on Monday sought forgiveness of the “sins” of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and urged Filipinos to allow him to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. “Kahit gaano kasama ang isang tao, ang pinakaimportante dyan …magkaroon tayo ng forgiveness. Let our good Lord to judge everything siguro,” said Pacquiao who is pushing for the restoration of death penalty on drug cases.
READ: Manny explains death by hanging: ‘Sisipain lang po yung upuan’ “Huwag tayong magalit kung ano man ang nagawa nya. Kailangan may forgiveness tayo kasi pag wala tayong forgiveness, wala tayong pagpapatawad sa puso natin hindi tayo maka-move on,” he added. Pacquiao said the people should not forget the many good things Marcos had done for the country. Asked about the alleged human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime, the senator said: “Kino-consider naman natin yun pero alin ang mas nauna, yung pagka-elect nya as President o yung martial law?” To once and for all end the issue, Senator Panfilo Lacson said it would be better if Marcos would be buried at the heroes’ cemetery and just “exhume” his remains if strong opposition pops up later. “Kung halimbawang malakas ang opposition later on at hindi matahimik, e di exhume,” Lacson said in a separate interview with reporters. “Ganoon kasimple yan. Para matapos din. Ako dahil former president, former soldier, bakit hindi? Entitled naman siya doon,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘Crying Lady’: It’s destiny that I saw Ninoy killing 33 years ago...

ALSO: Reds declare 7-day truce
[TIAMZONS THANK DUTERTE FOR COMRADES’ RELEASE]
[RELATED: Duterte restores truce with Reds - Dureza]


AUGUST 20 -NOW IT’S OFF TO OSLO Communist Party of the Philippines leader Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma, raise clenched fists as they walk out of police detention on Friday to join rebel negotiators in peace talks in Norway next week. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) last night declared a seven-day unilateral ceasefire after the government freed two top insurgent leaders who would join peace talks in Norway next week. The CPP Information Bureau said in a statement that the truce would take effect at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow and last till 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 27. The statement said the CPP Central Committee and the National Operational Command of the New People’s Army, the CPP’s armed wing, declared the ceasefire “to celebrate and bolster” the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the CPP’s political wing. “This ceasefire declaration is encouraged by the [government’s] facilitation of the release of nearly all NDFP consultants who are set to participate in peace negotiations in the course of the next several months,” it said. The CPP also thanked President Duterte for accelerating the resumption of peace talks as a means of dealing with the roots “of the civil war in the Philippines.” Benito and Wilma Tiamzon smiled and raised their fists as they were freed from the national police detention center yesterday, and thanked Mr. Duterte for freeing political prisoners as a first step toward ending one of Asia’s longest running insurgencies. They later joined others who were also freed as Manila prepared to engage the NDFP in talks slated in Oslo, Norway. But they all vowed to return home after the five-day negotiations ending on Aug. 27, a testament to the goodwill shown by the government. “We were released from jail to take part in the peace talks and we are serious about it,” Benito Tiamzon said. “The negotiations in Oslo are only one part of the process and there are other talks happening in other venues.” Tiamzon, the highest ranking leader of the CPP, said he and his wife, Wilma, “will return home” after the talks, which have been stalled since 2012 after Manila previously refused rebel demands to free jailed cadres. “We are optimistic that both sides have enough will to move forward despite the obstacles,” Tiamzon said. “Our confidence in the talks springs from our belief that it is only now that we have a President who has shown a determination to bring about reforms.” READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte restores truce with Reds...

ALSO: We’ll walk the extra mile for peace’


AUGUST 21 -Members of the Kabataang Makabayan stage a rally in Manila yesterday in support of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front. KRIZJOHN ROSALES ‘
 Malacañang yesterday expressed confidence that the unilateral declaration of the seven-day ceasefire by the communists will further boost the confidence-building measures of both parties in the days leading to the peace talks in Oslo, Norway. Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the government’s moves to initiate the temporary release from detention of the communist consultants has borne fruit when the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front reciprocated by declaring a ceasefire. Andanar is hopeful these actions from both camps will lead to substantial talks to end the decades-long insurgency in the country. “The President has already walked the extra mile for peace. He is glad that the CPP/NPA/NDF showed a similar gesture of goodwill as a sign of sincerity to the peace process on the eve of our talks in Oslo, Norway,” Andanar said. “We, therefore, feel optimistic that the mutual efforts of both sides would lead to fruitful negotiations that could pave the way for substantive discussions in the hope of putting an end to one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies,” he added. Andanar noted how President Duterte has reached out to the CPP and other threat groups during the first two months of his administration. He added the President’s sincerity could be seen after the government facilitated the release of detained CPP-NPA leaders led by Benito and Wilma Tiamzon. Malacañang earlier regarded the release of the Tiamzon couple as “an auspicious sign that the President is willing and sincere to walk the extra mile for peace.” Andanar said there is no better timing for the expression of good will from both sides than on the eve of the historic reopening of peace talks in Norway on Aug. 21-26. Presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza said the President will personally monitor the peace negotiations via Skype. “He will be personally monitoring (the peace talks), he would like to see it in Skype, to personally observe what is happening,” Dureza said in a press conference at the airport before flying to Norway. READ MORE... RELATED, Palace elated over truce with Reds...

ALSO: IN PHOTOS - NDF consultants meet in Netherlands ahead of peace talks


AUGUST 21 -Photo from ATTY. EDRE OLALIA, NDFP LEGAL CONSULTANT -In photos posted by NDFP legal consultant Atty. Edre Olalia on his Facebook account, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder and NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison can be seen in a meeting with NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, consultants Rey Casambre, Randall Echanis, Connie Ledesma, Fidel Agcaoili, Atty. Rachel Pastores and cooperators Vic Lalad and Satur Ocampo. Photo from ATTY. EDRE OLALIA, NDFP LEGAL CONSULTANT Members of the International Legal Advisory Team of the NDFP panel were also present in the meeting.
The consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) met in Utrecht, The Netherlands ahead of the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the government and Communist rebels at Oslo, Norway from August 22 to 26. READ MORE, MORE PHOTOS...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pacman to Drilon: If you survive 3 rounds, I’ll answer your question


Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, AUGUST 22, 2016 (INQUIRER By: Maila Ager @MAgerINQ 06:41 PM August 17th, 2016 - It’s the world boxing champion versus the “Big Man” at the Senate on Wednesday.

The face-off happened after neophyte Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao sponsored a resolution on the floor, commending and honoring Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz for winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

After Pacquiao’s sponsorship speech, Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon stood up and asked the neophyte senator if he could entertain some questions.

But the boxing icon was apparently hesitant to take questions from the vetaran senator.

“Bakit ayaw mo? Madali lang, Madali lang Manny. Isang question lang dali. Katuwaan lang (Why don’t you want? It would be easy, many. It’s just one question. It’s just for fun),” Drilon was heard off-mic telling the neophyte senator.

After prodding by some colleagues, Pacquiao returned to the floor and said: “Mr. President, I’m willing to yield (to some questions from my colleague) if he can survive three rounds.”

Pacquiao’s remark elicited laughter from the gallery.

It turned out later that Drilon just simply wanted to ask Pacquaio if he was willing to give Diaz cash incentives from his own pocket. After all, the Senate has approved Drilon’s motion to give the silver medalist a cash incentive from the savings of the chamber.

READ: Senators grant Diaz cash incentive from chamber’s savings

READ MORE...

“Mr. President, our colleague Senator Pacquiao has also brought honor to our country…We also recognized Senator Pacquiao for his achievements in the field of boxing. Apart from that, Senator Pacquiao has also been known for his generosity…” said Drilon.

“So Mr President, Ms. Diaz has dreams for the country and for the youth…and she intends to put up a gym where the aspiring athletes can follow her example so in this regard that we’d like to ask Senator Pacquiao, pwede po bang magbalato sayo si Hidilyn (would you give Hidilyn a cash incentive from your own pocket)?”

Responding to Drilon’s queries, Pacquiao reiterated his promise to give Diaz cash incentives from his own pocket.

“Definitely, I will give Hidilyn Diaz incentives from me, from my own pocket but I will not announce it because it’s personal,” he said.

Drilon thanked his colleague and asked in jest if Pacquiao could triple the amount the Senate would give to Diaz. RAM

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Pacquiao mulls granting Diaz incentives from his own pocket By: Maila Ager
@MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net 03:27 PM August 9th, 2016


Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz competes during the women’s 53kg weightlifting event at the Rio 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. AFP FILE PHOTO

Aside from cash and other benefits from the government, Senator and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said he is also thinking of giving Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz additional incentives out of his own pocket.

“Iniisip ko na yan (I’m thinking about it),” Pacquiao, chair of the Senate committee on sports, said when asked in an interview on Tuesday if he would give additional incentives to Diaz, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

READ: Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz wins silver in Rio

The senator refused to say, however, what kind of incentives he would give the silver medalist.

“Hindi na natin siguro ia-announce yan dahil hindi naman government fund yan (I prefer not to announce it because it would not be from the government fund). No need to announce it,” he said.

As head of the sports committee, Pacquiao also vowed to prioritize reforms needed at the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), particularly the speedy processing of benefits intended for Filipino athletes.

“Yan yung talagang tutukan natin, yung mga incentives na hindi pa natatangap noong mga atleta at saka yung pag reporma ng Philippine Sports Commission (We will focus on the speedy processing of incentives the athletes haven’t received yet and reforms at Philippine Sports Commission), he said.

“Syempre matagal ako sa sports, alam ko yung pasikot-sikot dyan. Maraming problema na dapat nating ayusin at matagal ng panahon na walang humahalughog sa mga anumang problema o mga nag aasikaso sa mga ganyan. Pinababayaan lang ng iba.”

(Of course, I have been involved in sports for quite some time now so I know everything about it. There are many problems we have to solve and it’s been a while since someone addressed the issues. Some have neglected it.)

Pacquaio said he was informed about the problems within the PSC and he promised to look into them.

“Ito yung mga tutukan natin ngayon bilang chairman ng sports committee, obligasyon ko yan na ayusin sa time ko ngayon…Sa loob ng tatlong taon siguro maayos natin yan (These are the things I need to focus on as the chairman of sports committee, it’s my obligation to solve the problems during my time…I think within three years, I’ll be able to address the issues),” he said.

The senator said his committee will meet next week to organize and start its work. RAM/rga

READ: Senators churn out praises for Hidilyn Diaz’ silver-medal win


INQUIRER

Pacquiao: Forgive Marcos, bury him at Libingan By: Maila Ager @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net
05:31 PM August 15th, 2016


Manny Pacquiao delivers his first privilage speech concerning the reimposition of the death penalty at the Senate floor on Monday, August 8, 2016. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

INVOKING again the name of God, Senator Manny Pacquiao on Monday sought forgiveness of the “sins” of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and urged Filipinos to allow him to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“Kahit gaano kasama ang isang tao, ang pinakaimportante dyan …magkaroon tayo ng forgiveness. Let our good Lord to judge everything siguro,” said Pacquiao who is pushing for the restoration of death penalty on drug cases.

READ: Manny explains death by hanging: ‘Sisipain lang po yung upuan’

“Huwag tayong magalit kung ano man ang nagawa nya. Kailangan may forgiveness tayo kasi pag wala tayong forgiveness, wala tayong pagpapatawad sa puso natin hindi tayo maka-move on,” he added.

Pacquiao said the people should not forget the many good things Marcos had done for the country.

Asked about the alleged human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime, the senator said: “Kino-consider naman natin yun pero alin ang mas nauna, yung pagka-elect nya as President o yung martial law?”

To once and for all end the issue, Senator Panfilo Lacson said it would be better if Marcos would be buried at the heroes’ cemetery and just “exhume” his remains if strong opposition pops up later.

“Kung halimbawang malakas ang opposition later on at hindi matahimik, e di exhume,” Lacson said in a separate interview with reporters.

“Ganoon kasimple yan. Para matapos din. Ako dahil former president, former soldier, bakit hindi? Entitled naman siya doon,” he said.

READ MORE...

Lacson reiterated that as long as a person was a former soldier or former head of state, it doesn’t matter anymore if he was a hero or not.

And to avoid any confusion, the cemetery could also be renamed so it would not be taken literally that only heroes could be buried there.

While he agreed that Marcos could be buried at the heroes’ cemetery, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said there were “larger political implications” that should be considered.

“It’s an issue that we don’t need right now. In fact, President Duterte doesn’t need it pero parang pinalalabas nya that he can impose his will by virtue of popularity and whimsical minsan. For his own good, kung ako sa kanya, he should step back dahil hindi talaga e,” Trillanes said.

“He can test kung hanggang saan ito aabot pero sa akin, he doesn’t need it. He doesn’t need to test and waste political capital at this point , at this early sa kanyang administration. Sya rin ang mamo-mroblema dito,” he added./rga

 
https://youtu.be/ioxsmdwMrxY -EDCEL LAGMAN

 

https://youtu.be/fEdoQ_LWqlw PRESIDENT DUTERTE

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

‘Crying Lady’: It’s destiny that I saw Ninoy killing 33 years ago SHARES: 3272 VIEW COMMENTS By: Jeannette I. Andrade @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:21 AM August 21st, 2016


LONE EYEWITNESS Thirty-three years after, “Crying Lady” Rebecca Quijano retells her story of how a military escort shot Aquino in the back of the head. LYN RILLON

Rebecca Quijano, the lone eyewitness to the assassination of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was not supposed to be on China Airlines Flight 811, the same flight that carried the opposition leader 33 years ago.

Now 62, Quijano, referred to in news accounts as the “Crying Lady,” attributes to destiny her being on the same plane that brought Aquino back to the country after a three-year self-imposed exile in the United States. Aquino’s homecoming on Aug. 21, 1983, was blocked by an assassin’s bullet, even before he could touch Philippine soil.

In an interview at her San Juan home, Quijano told the Inquirer that in the years following Aquino’s death, she had to alternately maneuver through death threats and bribes, emboldened as she was by her conviction to tell what she saw through a window of that Boeing 767-209 jet: A military escort shot the senator in the back of the head.

“For everything there’s a reason. I was supposed to be on a Philippine Airlines flight to Manila from Taipei. Last minute, I told my friend, ‘Let’s change our flight. The China Airlines aircraft is much bigger,’” said Quijano, then 29.

“I did not even know at the time that Ninoy would be on the same flight,” she said.

VIP on board

She said she only found out about the VIP on board when they were already on the plane and a group was crowding around a passenger.

“I asked a reporter who passed by, ‘Who is that guy?’ He told me, ‘You don’t know him? He’s Ninoy.’ When I heard Ninoy, I got my camera and ran,” she said, laughing.

QUIJANO DAUGHTER OF THEN LP OPPOSITION FROM BICOL

Quijano recalled that she was able to speak briefly with Aquino, introducing herself as the daughter of Hector Quijano, then opposition Liberal Party chair for the Bicol region, who offered his home to national party leaders campaigning in the area, including Aquino, Sergio Osmeña Jr. and Jovito Salonga.

“I met him (Ninoy) even before, when he stayed at our house in Tabaco, Albay. I asked him, ‘Why did you return [to the Philippines]? Aren’t you afraid? He didn’t say a word and gave a forced smile. You can see in his face that he was so worried,” she said.

After the aircraft landed at Manila International Airport (now Ninoy Aquino International Airport), all passengers were told to stay put as three soldiers fetched Aquino from his seat.

“I saw the press chasing after Ninoy and the soldiers so I got my camera and pretended to be one of the reporters so I could follow. When they blocked the door (after Ninoy and his escorts stepped out), I ran to the business class side and looked out the window,” Quijano said.

“I looked out that window at the same time that he was killed,” she said.


UNSOLVED MURDER
The killers of opposition leader Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., shown sprawled face down on the tarmac of Manila International Airport, have yet to be brought to justice.

Left in hysterics

She said she could not help going into hysterics after that because all she could think about as she heard more gunfire was that they were going to be next.

“All the passengers ducked for cover. I just cried and shouted, ‘Why did they kill Ninoy? What is this? Those (Aquino’s military escorts) who were supposed to protect him killed him?’ I was really in disbelief,” Quijano said.

“I experienced martial law so I knew what could happen. That it was easy for them (the military) to kill people,” she said.

When the passengers were allowed to get off the aircraft, Quijano recalled that she was still crying hysterically that she was mistaken for a relative of the Aquinos by waiting journalists, whom she addressed, saying in Filipino, “Why aren’t you in tears? They killed Ninoy.”

That was the only thing she was able to tell them because Col. Vicente Tigas, of the then presidential security command, and another man wearing a barong Tagalog held her by the shoulders and told her to be quiet or she would be in trouble.

“At that time, I returned to my senses because I realized, ‘I’m in danger.’ They got my bag and brought me to a room. I told them I just needed a drink of water and that I would be fine by myself. I was so afraid. I felt that I was going to be killed next,” she said.

When she got home, she switched on the TV and watched a press conference called by then Metropolitan Command chief Maj. Gen. Prospero Olivas, who was saying that Aquino had been shot by communist hit man Rolando Galman.

“I knew it was a military conspiracy then,” Quijano said.

When she told her sister about what happened, her sister told her to return to the United States and not to make any more fuss about what she had seen.

She was convinced to testify before the US Congress and the Sandiganbayan in 1985 by Philippine News-San Francisco editor in chief and founder Alex Esclamado and Greek-American mechanical engineer Steve Psinakis.

Asked what convinced her to testify, Quijano said, “I saw that there were many witnesses recanting their statements. I was just thinking of justice for Ninoy. So I returned here.”

“(Lawyer) Raul Gonzales said that my best protection was to come out with the truth. I was told by Atty. (Lupino) Lazaro that I had ‘salvage value’ until I testified. I rendered an affidavit and submitted it to Chief Prosecutor (Manuel) Herrera so I would no longer have ‘salvage value,’” she said.

Quijano recalled that when she testified on May 2, 1985, that she saw a soldier shoot Aquino, she had her rosary and was praying all that time that she would not be grilled on the witness stand because of a raft of fabricated charges filed against her, from car theft to estafa.

Quijano said she later found out that the defense wanted her recalled to the witness stand so they could make her an offer to recant her statement. The offer was P2 million cash, a private jet ride back to the United States and the head of her father’s killer.

Her father, Hector, was detained in Camp Crame where he allegedly committed suicide by hanging—something the family did not believe.

Instead of refusing the offer, Quijano said the prosecution lawyers advised her to play along so “they (those threatening her) would be the ones protecting her.”

She revealed that Rodolfo Jimenez, the defense lawyer the military men accused in the assassination, even briefed her on what she was supposed to say on the witness stand in June 1985 to withdraw her previous testimony.

Quijano said she was shown “her” P2 million by a middleman in his house in White Plains, Quezon City. “It was a large box of money. The box was marked Central Bank of the Philippines. He (the middleman) told me it was mine. I didn’t take it because I was just playing along.”

Grilled with a vengeance

When she finally testified and did not recant her statement, she was grilled with a vengeance by defense lawyers about her detention in Hong Kong, her criminal cases and her being institutionalized in a mental health hospital.

“I was crying. I almost had a breakdown on the witness stand. They ganged up on me, even the three justices,” she said.

To stop the grilling, she told Head Justice Manuel Pamaran: “Your honor, even if I’m the worst person in the whole world nothing will change that it was a soldier who shot Ninoy.”

“So it was truly destiny that I saw what I did. For me, Ninoy is my hero. It is because of him that we have democracy. If he was not killed, our countrymen would not be jolted awake. His sacrifice emboldened the Filipinos,” she said. TVJ

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Journalists sleepless in PH after Ninoy Aquino assassination

Ninoy Aquino’s assassination


INQUIRER

Reds declare 7-day truce
[TIAMZONS THANK DUTERTE FOR COMRADES’ RELEASE]
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:53 AM August 20th, 2016


NOW IT’S OFF TO OSLO Communist Party of the Philippines leader Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma, raise clenched fists as they walk out of police detention on Friday to join rebel negotiators in peace talks in Norway next week. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) last night declared a seven-day unilateral ceasefire after the government freed two top insurgent leaders who would join peace talks in Norway next week.

The CPP Information Bureau said in a statement that the truce would take effect at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow and last till 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 27.

The statement said the CPP Central Committee and the National Operational Command of the New People’s Army, the CPP’s armed wing, declared the ceasefire “to celebrate and bolster” the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the CPP’s political wing.

“This ceasefire declaration is encouraged by the [government’s] facilitation of the release of nearly all NDFP consultants who are set to participate in peace negotiations in the course of the next several months,” it said.

The CPP also thanked President Duterte for accelerating the resumption of peace talks as a means of dealing with the roots “of the civil war in the Philippines.”

Benito and Wilma Tiamzon smiled and raised their fists as they were freed from the national police detention center yesterday, and thanked Mr. Duterte for freeing political prisoners as a first step toward ending one of Asia’s longest running insurgencies.

They later joined others who were also freed as Manila prepared to engage the NDFP in talks slated in Oslo, Norway. But they all vowed to return home after the five-day negotiations ending on Aug. 27, a testament to the goodwill shown by the government.

“We were released from jail to take part in the peace talks and we are serious about it,” Benito Tiamzon said. “The negotiations in Oslo are only one part of the process and there are other talks happening in other venues.”

Tiamzon, the highest ranking leader of the CPP, said he and his wife, Wilma, “will return home” after the talks, which have been stalled since 2012 after Manila previously refused rebel demands to free jailed cadres.

“We are optimistic that both sides have enough will to move forward despite the obstacles,” Tiamzon said. “Our confidence in the talks springs from our belief that it is only now that we have a President who has shown a determination to bring about reforms.”

READ MORE...

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said freeing the rebel negotiators showed the government’s sincerity to the talks.

“The President has the political will to make it happen without short-circuiting the judicial process,” Dureza said. “We are looking forward to a fruitful, but intense negotiations.”

19 freed so far

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of rights group Karapatan which welcomed the ex-detainees at St. Andrews Chapel in Quezon City, said they were freed separately this week. She said as of Friday, 19 “peace consultants” of the 22 on their list have so far been freed.

Alan Jazmines, a 69-year-old NDFP consultant who was detained at Camp Bagong Diwa since February 2011, said he considered their freedom a welcome “ray of light” as the rebel movement struggles with the negotiations.

“We went through a lot of disappointments before we were released and we have fought to continue the peace talks,” he said.

Maria Concepcion Bocala, 66, who was detained for a year at Iloilo District Jail, said she hoped that more female political prisoners would be freed soon. She admitted that she had anxiously waited for her release, and had to go through several courts to approve her papers.

“We are a force to reckon with and we are not criminals,” she stressed, adding that they were pushing for “peace based on justice” which she said would lead to meaningful reforms.

Karapatan for its part called on the Duterte administration to release all 500 other political prisoners. “The formal peace talks should pave the way for discussions between the two parties on substantive issues like genuine agrarian reform, decent jobs, national industrialization and living wages,” Palabay added.

Earlier yesterday, the CPP said it would declare a unilateral ceasefire in order to “bolster” the negotiations.

The CPP, however, called on the government to free an estimated 500 political prisoners still languishing in different jails across the country, and called for an end to “the dirty legal tactic” of slapping trumped-up criminal charges against its members.

In appreciation for freeing the detainees, the CPP “reiterates its full support for the peace negotiations as a venue to discuss the roots of the armed conflict and forge agreements to resolve” what it calls the strategic problems of the masses.

The CPP said it hoped mutual efforts by the NDFP and the government would speed up the talks.

CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said the rebel ceasefire was “an act of goodwill” and that the government was not required to reciprocate. He said both panels would discuss the mode of ceasefire “which will run indefinitely in exchange for the amnesty and release of the political prisoners.”

Passports issued

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it had issued electronic passports (e-passport) to the freed rebel consultants to allow them to attend the peace negotiations.

DFA spokesperson Charles Jose told the Inquirer more or less 10 e-passports had been issued to NDFP leaders based on information from the Office of the Consular Affairs. Reports from Maricar Brizuela, Leila B. Salaverria, Jaymee T. Gamil, Estrella Torres and Delfin Mallari, Inquirer Southern Luzon; AP/TVJ

RELATED STORIES

Tiamzons confident of peace talks, Duterte thrust toward reforms

Release of Tiamzon couple shows Duterte sincerity—OPAPP

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte restores truce with Reds By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 21, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza said the government reciprocated the unilateral truce declared by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) on Friday. Philstar.com/John Unson

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte yesterday reinstated the unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels ahead of the peace talks in Oslo, Norway that start on Monday.

Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza said the government reciprocated the unilateral truce declared by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) on Friday.

Dureza made the announcement during a press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as he headed to Norway for the resumption of peace talks with the rebel group.

He said the government’s ceasefire declaration would take effect at 12:01 a.m. today.

Unlike the seven-day ceasefire declaration of the CPP-NPA-NDF, Dureza said the duration of the government’s ceasefire would last “for as long as necessary to bring peace in the land.”

“Today, the President restores the effects of that ceasefire declaration precisely at this strategic time when we are at the onset of the formal resumption of peace talks that had previously been stalled for the last four years,” Dureza said.

He said the operational guidelines of the ceasefire declaration for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and other security units of the government are also restored.

“Our citizens deserve no less. They wish to live peaceful lives bereft of the costs and tragic consequences of conflict and violence. The enabling environment brought about by this ‘silencing of the guns’ will hopefully go a long way in bringing about an expeditious and early resolution to our differences and aspirations that have long divided us as a people,” Dureza added.

The President, during his State of the Nation Address last July 25, first issued the unilateral ceasefire as a gesture of good faith in talking peace with the communist rebels.

Six days later, Duterte scuttled the truce after the rebels failed to explain the attacks on government forces despite the ceasefire declaration.

With the scheduled peace negotiations in Norway starting tomorrow, the CPP-NPA-NDF declared a ceasefire last Friday and ordered the release of its captive prisoners.

The rebels declared the unilateral ceasefire for seven days, or for the duration of the peace talks in Oslo from Aug. 21 to 27.

Dureza stressed the President is in full support of the orderly and effective conduct of peace negotiations with the release of the NDF consultants.

The NDF is representing the CPP-NPA in the peace talks with the Philippine government in Norway.

“President Duterte has caused the unprecedented and historical release from detention of 20 prisoners who are needed in the peace negotiations. As we speak, there is continuing effort to make available in the Oslo peace talks resumption as many of them as possible,” he said.

“I say again: the Duterte government will walk the extra mile for peace,” he added.

The communists earlier slammed the government for not releasing their supposed peace consultants who they claimed should be covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

The agreement provides immunity from arrest to NDF peace consultants. Some of the alleged peace consultants are NPA leaders like Benito and Wilma Tiamzon who are facing criminal cases.

The Tiamzons are among the NDF consultants ordered released from detention to join the peace talks in Norway.

The CPP-NPA has been waging a protracted Maoist insurgency for nearly 40 years, one of the longest in Asia, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people despite several attempts at peace negotiations.

Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the suspension of the peace talks in 2005 after the communist rebels walked out of the negotiations in Norway, accusing the Philippine government of including the CPP and the NPA in the US and European lists of foreign terrorist organizations. 


PEACE. Jesus Dureza (center) accompanies former president Gloria Arroyo (2nd R) as she inspects the firearms surrendered by communist rebels to the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army on June 18, 2008. AFP photo RAPPLER.COM REPORT.

Silent guns

The military, for its part, acknowledged the government’s open-ended ceasefire declaration with communist rebels.

“As per instructions from the higher political leadership, unlike the NPA’s own week-long ceasefire declaration, the duration of the government ceasefire will last for as long as necessary,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.

He said the operational guidance issued to all military units in earlier truce would be restored.

“The declaration of restoration of ceasefire by the President and commander-in-chief that takes effect midnight of 20 August 2016, and his clear instructions for the AFP to restore its erstwhile operational guidelines will be communicated forthwith to all AFP units on the ground by all means possible as we speak,” Padilla said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said the rebel truce declaration is a welcome development.

“We are very happy for this development,” he said.

Carlos said the PNP would strictly adhere to the government’s restoration of the ceasefire declaration.

However, the PNP will continue to maintain its law enforcement functions.

Before the communists made the ceasefire declaration, a soldier was killed and five others were hurt in separate attacks by the NPA in Dingalan, Aurora and San Juan, Batangas last Wednesday and Friday, respectively. – Edith Regalado, Giovanni Nilles, Jaime Laude, Arnell Ozaeta, Michelle Zoleta, Jose Rodel Clapano


PHILSTAR

We’ll walk the extra mile for peace’ (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 21, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Members of the Kabataang Makabayan stage a rally in Manila yesterday in support of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front. KRIZJOHN ROSALES ‘

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday expressed confidence that the unilateral declaration of the seven-day ceasefire by the communists will further boost the confidence-building measures of both parties in the days leading to the peace talks in Oslo, Norway.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the government’s moves to initiate the temporary release from detention of the communist consultants has borne fruit when the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front reciprocated by declaring a ceasefire.

Andanar is hopeful these actions from both camps will lead to substantial talks to end the decades-long insurgency in the country.

“The President has already walked the extra mile for peace. He is glad that the CPP/NPA/NDF showed a similar gesture of goodwill as a sign of sincerity to the peace process on the eve of our talks in Oslo, Norway,” Andanar said.

“We, therefore, feel optimistic that the mutual efforts of both sides would lead to fruitful negotiations that could pave the way for substantive discussions in the hope of putting an end to one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies,” he added.

Andanar noted how President Duterte has reached out to the CPP and other threat groups during the first two months of his administration.

He added the President’s sincerity could be seen after the government facilitated the release of detained CPP-NPA leaders led by Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

Malacañang earlier regarded the release of the Tiamzon couple as “an auspicious sign that the President is willing and sincere to walk the extra mile for peace.”

Andanar said there is no better timing for the expression of good will from both sides than on the eve of the historic reopening of peace talks in Norway on Aug. 21-26.

Presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza said the President will personally monitor the peace negotiations via Skype.

“He will be personally monitoring (the peace talks), he would like to see it in Skype, to personally observe what is happening,” Dureza said in a press conference at the airport before flying to Norway.

READ MORE...

The President, according to Dureza, directed all concerned agencies to speed up the release and the processing of travel documents of 22 detained rebels set to participate in the peace talks as consultants of the NDF.

As of yesterday, 20 of the NDF consultants have been temporarily freed from detention for the peace talks, among them the Tiamzon couple.

On Friday, the CPP and the NPA’s National Operational Command announced its unilateral declaration of a seven-day ceasefire to bolster the resumption of formal peace talks.

Also on Friday, the NDF ordered the release of two police officers held captive by the NPA in Southern Mindanao.

The NDF is representing the CPP-NPA in the peace talks with the government.

“The ceasefire will take effect starting 12:01 a.m. of Aug. 21 and will last until 11:59 p.m. of Aug. 27,” the CPP said.

“This ceasefire declaration is encouraged by the government’s facilitation of the release of nearly all NDF consultants who are set to participate in peace negotiations in the course of the next several months,” the CPP-NPA said.

The CPP-initiated ceasefire came a few hours after the release of the Tiamzon couple, who were arrested in March 2014.

Release all political prisoners “The CPP anticipates the release of the rest of the NDFP consultants so that everyone can participate in the peace talks,” the CPP said in a statement. – Christina Mendez, Edith Regalado, Janvic Mateo, Giovanni Nilles

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Palace elated over truce with Reds By Kristine Daguno-Bersamina (philstar.com) | Updated August 20, 2016 - 12:39pm 3 38 googleplus0 0


The communist rebels declared the truce hours after leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were released Friday ahead of peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Saturday was elated with the seven-day unilateral ceasefire declared by the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army (CPP-NPA) ahead of Oslo peace talks.

In a statement on Friday night, the CPP-NPA said the truce would take effect starting 12:01 a.m. on Sunday until 11:59 p.m. of Saturday next week.

“The president has already walked an extra mile for peace,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in a statement issued on Saturday.

“He (President Rodrigo Duterte) is glad that the CPP-NPA-NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) showed a similar gesture of goodwill as a sign of sincerity to the peace process prior to our talks in Oslo, Norway,” he added.

READ MORE...

The communist rebels declared the truce hours after leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were freed Friday from the Camp Crame Custodial Center after posting bail for cases filed against them in various courts.

The couple was among the last of the detained ranking members of the NDFP to walk free, who was granted with temporary passes for the duration of the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

“We therefore feel optimistic that the mutual efforts of both sides would lead to fruitful negotiations that could pave the way for substantive discussions in the hope of putting an end to one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies,” Andanar said.

The CPP added that they are open to a longer-term ceasefire once the rest of the political prisoners are freed.


INQUIRER

IN PHOTOS: NDF consultants meet in Netherlands ahead of peace talks INQUIRER.net 03:44 PM August 21st, 2016 SHARES: 26 VIEW COMMENTS By: Aries Joseph Hegina @AHeginaINQ INQUIRER.net


Photo from ATTY. EDRE OLALIA, NDFP LEGAL CONSULTANT -In photos posted by NDFP legal consultant Atty. Edre Olalia on his Facebook account, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder and NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison can be seen in a meeting with NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, consultants Rey Casambre, Randall Echanis, Connie Ledesma, Fidel Agcaoili, Atty. Rachel Pastores and cooperators Vic Lalad and Satur Ocampo. Photo from ATTY. EDRE OLALIA, NDFP LEGAL CONSULTANT Members of the International Legal Advisory Team of the NDFP panel were also present in the meeting.

The consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) met in Utrecht, The Netherlands ahead of the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the government and Communist rebels at Oslo, Norway from August 22 to 26.

READ MORE...


In photos posted by NDFP legal consultant Atty. Edre Olalia on his Facebook account, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder and NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison can be seen in a meeting with NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, consultants Rey Casambre, Randall Echanis, Connie Ledesma, Fidel Agcaoili, Atty. Rachel Pastores and cooperators Vic Lalad and Satur Ocampo.Photo from ATTY. EDRE OLALIA, NDFP LEGAL CONSULTANT

Members of the International Legal Advisory Team of the NDFP panel were also present in the meeting.

READ: Duterte: All NDFP consultants will be in Oslo for peace talks

Olalia, who will also join in the peace talks, told INQUIRER.net that the meeting focused on preparations for the peace negotiations.


Photo from ATTY. EDRE OLALIA, NDFP LEGAL CONSULTANT

“Status of consultants’ releases and travel papers, skeds, delegation travel details, taskings, brainstorming, advance drafts of potential documents, technical preps & other matters [were the ones discussed],” Olalia said.

The negotiations in Oslo seek to end one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies.

Both the communists and the government declared ceasefires ahead of the talks.

READ: Duterte restores ceasefire with Reds ahead of Oslo peace talks

The government under President Rodrigo Duterte has also freed 22 jailed NDFP political consultants so that they can join the peace negotiations. JE


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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