GOVERNMENT peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III said Monday they will be signing a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the negotiators of the communist rebels in the last week of November or first week of December.
“We are talking to have the final document [signed] either by the end of November or the first week of December,” Bello told a forum of civil society groups organized by the Rotary Club of Marikina City.
“But we are eyeing the last week of November since we need to address other concerns in the talks.”
Silvestre also said the government was planning the release of more political prisoners who are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines before the end of November to show goodwill and build confidence between the government and the communist rebels.
“We are asking for time from the [National Democratic Front] and the public since the releases must undergo judicial processes,” Bello said.
The Rotary Club forum was also attended by youth leader Kevin Abergas, government panel member Hernani Braganza, NDF panel member Benito Tiamzon, and NDF consultants and sub-panel members Wilma Tiamzon and Adelberto Silva.
The signing of the ceasefire agreement was supposed to have been held on Oct. 26.
‘‘We had to postpone the signing,” Bello said. “There are still several items that need to have a consensus, such as the monitoring mechanism, the parameters of hostile acts, the definition of buffer zones.”
The government and the rebels had declared their own indefinite unilateral ceasefires but agreed to transform that into a bilateral ceasefire agreement that would be realized in less than a month.
In the forum, Bello urged the civil society groups to participate in the peace talks.
“Know what is happening and participate. We need to get your support in this process,” he said.
“Without your support, our peace process with the National Democratic Front will not go anywhere.”