Duterte, Joma Sison agree 'peace process must move forward'

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Wednesday, December 21, disclosed details of the "productive phone conversation" between President Rodrigo Duterte and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said their conversation on Monday night, December 19, went on until dawn.

"From the sources, it was a warm conversation between old friends, but there were no details, there were no political issues that were covered. However, both agreed that the peace process must move forward," he added.

On Tuesday, December 20, Sison announced in a Facebook post that the unilateral ceasefire declaration of the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front "will stand during the Christmas and New Year holidays."

The unilateral ceasefires separately declared in August by the military and the NPA have been holding.

Both panels initially aimed to have signed a bilateral ceasefire agreement by October, but communist rebels have stalled talks pending the release of political prisoners. (READ: Duterte sets condition for freeing 130 political prisoners)

The CPP, which is celebrating its 48th founding anniversary on December 26, gave the Duterte administration until January 2017 to fulfill its promise to release all 432 political prisoners or risk rebel attacks. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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