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Philippines, communist rebels say they agree to resume peace talks

By AFP
November 29, 2023

MANILA: The Philippine government and communist rebels said on Tuesday they have agreed to resume peace talks to end one of the world´s longest-running Maoist insurgencies.

The ongoing armed struggle, launched in 1969, grew out of the global communist movement and found fertile soil for recruitment among the Philippines´ rural poor. At its peak in the 1980s, the group boasted about 26,000 fighters, a number the military says has now dwindled to less than 2,000.

Ka Kathryn, a 25-year-old from a middle-class family, who is a guerrilla of the New Peoples Army, is seen in the Sierra Madre mountain range, east of Manila, on July 30, 2017. — AFP File
Ka Kathryn, a 25-year-old from a middle-class family, who is a guerrilla of the New People's Army, is seen in the Sierra Madre mountain range, east of Manila, on July 30, 2017. — AFP File

Successive Philippine administrations have held peace talks with the communists through their Netherlands-based political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF). This latest effort followed informal discussions in the Netherlands and Norway that began in 2022 and were facilitated by the Norwegian government, officials told reporters in Manila.

“The parties agree to a principled and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict,” said a joint statement issued by both sides that was signed in the Norwegian capital of Oslo on November 23. “The parties acknowledge the deep-rooted socioeconomic and political grievances and agree to come up with a framework that sets the priorities for the peace negotiation.”