GPH reports end of first round of formal talks with NDF


Manila, Feb. 23 – After five days of negotiations and a news blackout, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) faced the Philippine media yesterday to report on the conclusion of the first round of formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF).

In a statement read live and beamed from Norway, government negotiating panel head Alex Padilla reported that “prospects for peace have become better”. He detailed the important developments that the Oslo talks have achieved, most notable of which is the consensus on the proposed 18-month timeframe for the completion of agreements on the remaining substantive agenda of the talks.

Joining the press conference was Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In her concluding remarks, the peace adviser urged the Filipino people to remain vigilant as “lahat ng prosesong pangkapayapaan ay umaandar na” (“all fronts of the peace process has been progressing”).

Deles is in the Arab country for the 4th Tripartite Meeting of the GPH, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The meeting is set to review the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) between the GPH and the MNLF.

Another round of talks has been scheduled with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), tentatively on March 29-30, 2011. Malaysia will host as third-party facilitator.

First virtual press conference in Malacanan

The press conference was beamed live via a free videoconferencing software and as such, the first ever to be hosted by Malacanan Palace.

Members of the Malacanan Press Corps fielded questions to the panel in Oslo, seen in one screen. Secretary Deles was on a second screen, seen listening, and at times nodding.

On a third, slightly smaller screen was the Malacanan Press Corps and the scene at the Palace’s Briefing Room.

The videoconferencing software had made possible the joining of three parties from different time zones.

It was 6am in Saudi Arabia, 4am in Norway, and 11am in the Philippines.#


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