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Philippine Communist Suggests Transitional Regime

Associated Press

A Communist official said Saturday that the rebels are gaining strength and proposed a transitional government to end the 17-year-old insurgency.

President Corazon Aquino has ruled out Communist participation in government, although last week she put into effect a 60-day truce with the rebels and has agreed to talks aimed at definitively settling the rebellion.

Government and rebel negotiators agreed Saturday that no major breaches of the cease-fire had occurred so far, despite a continuing dispute over where guerrillas may carry weapons.

The Communist-led National Democratic Front, an alliance that represented the rebels during truce negotiations, has said its main goal in second-stage talks is not power-sharing, but agreement with the government on ways to solve the country’s social, economic and political problems.

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But on Saturday the Communist official, identified as Rolando Bello, said it is unrealistic to expect the rebels to rely on “the good faith of the other side.”

“Any notion or proposal which implies that one of the negotiating parties, especially the armed revolutionaries, should place itself or should place its political trust in the good faith of the other side . . . will not be realistic in this case,” he told reporters at a news conference in a Manila safehouse.

National Democratic Front officials arranged the news conference. Bello was introduced as spokesman for the Communist Party of the Philippines.

He said a final settlement must resolve “the problem of the existence of two distinct, separate armed forces"--the Philippine military and the New People’s Army.

He said that “this can be within the framework of a formation of even a transitional government of broad participation and for national unity.” Bello said such an arrangement would be needed to ensure implementation of any final accord.

The Communist spokesman said that “we believe, in spite of great odds facing the peace negotiators, that there is still the possibility for a meaningful political settlement.”


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