PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is determined to find a peaceful solution to the decades old communist insurgency, Malacanang said following the release of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon this morning, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said yesterday.
The Tiamzons are the last among the detained ranking members of the National Democratic Front (NDF) to walk free although the court granted them only temporary passes for the duration of the formal peace talks which are slated to begin Monday, August 22, in Oslo, Norway.
“With their release, in addition to more than a dozen of NDF consultants earlier granted bail and already freed, one more stumbling block is removed. We are looking forward to fruitful but intense negotiations in Oslo,” Dureza said.
Peace negotiations between the Philippine government (GPH) and the NDF were suspended in 2012 due to several disagreements topped by the alleged continued arrests and detention of rebel consultants.
The Tiamzons were the highest-ranking rebel leaders to fall into government hands. They were captured in Cebu City in March last year. Benito Tiamzon was the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines while his wife Wilma was the secretary general.
Efforts were pursued to re-open the peace talks during the previous administration through backdoor channeling led by now Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III but these were brought to an abrupt stop after the Mamasapano incident in 2015.