Philippines to amend constitution to forge peace with rebels

Manila: The Philippine government on Monday said it was willing to amend the constitution to lure the insurgents into signing a peace pact.

Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, said the constitution was a “stumbling block” in the ongoing government efforts to forge peace with the communist and Muslim rebels, Xinhua news agency reported.

“If you really look up what they (the rebels) aspire for, you have to open up our constitution to be able to accommodate them. That is the reality,” Dureza said.

The government is talking peace with communist rebels, and the two Muslim groups — the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

Dureza said all agreements previously signed with the major rebel groups in the past made no reference to the constitution. “We always refer to the international laws and protocols.”

As government peace negotiator, Dureza said he was forced to negotiate within the confines of the constitutions in order to allow both parties to continue working on a final peace settlement despite their opposing views and ideologies.

Duterte, who assumed office in June this year, wants to sign peace accords with the three decade-old communist rebel groups — the MILF and MNLF.