31 March 2017

Duterte admin hopes to secure bilateral ceasefire with communists in renewed talks
President Rodrigo Duterte wants government negotiators to secure a bilateral ceasefire agreement with communist insurgents as the fourth round of talks start in The Netherlands on April 2 to 6, GPH panel chief negotiator said on Friday, March 31.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government panel is prepared to hold the fourth round of talks with the National Democratic Front in The Netherlands starting this weekend.“The panel will continue to traverse the road to peace despite its humps and bumps and curves in order to bring about an enduring peace and to unite our people for nation building,” he said.Among the agenda include the socio-economic reforms which is the heart and soul of the peace process that intends to address the root causes of the armed conflict in the country.

Also included in the agenda would be the definition of buffer zones as well as the collection of revolutionary tax by the rebels.

And more importantly, both sides hope to arrive at a consensus on a bilateral ceasefire to end the hostilities on the ground, according to Bello.

During the same press briefing, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Palace welcomed the November-December 2016 survey of Mastercard Well-Being Index which showed that the Philippines ranked No. 2 in terms of consumer’s overall well-being among countries in the Asia Pacific.

The Philippines’ overall score of 73 on the survey apparently shows that the Duterte administration will continue to work hard in providing financial security and work opportunities to allow every Filipino to develop their own potential and to achieve personal satisfaction, he said.

Abella also took note of Fitch Ratings’ report, giving the country an investment grade of “BBB-“ or “good credit quality” on the Philippines’ capacity to pay for its financial commitments. This is due to the constant drive of the Duterte administration to improve the country’s economic growth.
At the same time, Abella welcomed Moody’s 6.5 percent forecast on the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP).

“Despite the political noise, the global debt watcher, Moody’s Investors Service, stated that this year’s Philippine gross domestic product is expected to reach 6.5 percent by maintaining domestic demand, which includes increasing government expenditures and attracting more foreign direct investments,” he said.###PND