OSLO, NORWAY, Aug. 25 - The peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) got off to a good start Tuesday morning (Oslo time), August 23, as negotiators from both parties agreed on three of five substantive issues, including a formal commitment to accelerate the process of forging a political settlement during term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The negotiating panels only took four hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., to settle minor conflicting positions on the three substantive issues during a marathon session that was punctuated on several instances by laughter and light banter.
The three major issues that were settled are the:
Affirmation of previously-signed agreements;
Reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list; and
Accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: socio-economic reforms; political and economic reforms; and end of hostilities and disposition of forces, including the Joint Monitoring Committee.
"It was a frank and honest discussion among friends.