GMA  FORMS  NEW  TEAM  FOR  PEACE  TALKS  WITH   CPP-NPA

MANILA
, February 11, 2005
(STAR) President Arroyo has named former labor and employment secretary Nieves Confesor as the new chairwoman of the five-member panel negotiating peace with communist rebels.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Mrs. Arroyo has also appointed two other women as negotiators after reorganizing the peace panel.

They are former presidential spokeswoman Annabelle Abaya and veteran journalist Paulyn Sicam.

Other panel members are lawyer Rene Sarmiento, who was retained as vice chairman, and Prof. Sedfrey Candelaria.

Mrs. Arroyo reorganized the peace panel upon recommendation of Teresita Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, Ermita said.

Deles said the new panel members can each contribute distinct talents to the peace negotiations, having served in academe and in various fields of conflict resolution.

"The balance between three women and two men in the team is expected to provide important gender perspectives," she said.

"Being younger than previous panel members and coming from diverse background, they will be able to bridge very divergent viewpoints."

Deles said Mrs. Arroyo wants to establish a climate conducive to negotiation so the peace talks can yield a ceasefire agreement with the rebels. Marichu Villanueva


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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