Jalandoni resigns as NDF peace panel chief, Agcaoli, Tiamzon assume new posts

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New roles. NDFP peace panel senior adviser Luis Jalandoni, panel member Benito Tiamzon and chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili (L-R)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Luis Jalandoni steps down as chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the group announced Thursday ahead of the second round of talks with government counterparts in Oslo, Norway.

Fidel Agcaoili takes over the role.

"Now I'm 81, I think it is time for younger ones to take over the function of chairperson of the NDFP negotiating panel," Jalandoni told reporters in a recorded press conference.

The NDFP is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which is waging an armed struggle against government for 47 years. The New People's Army (NPA) is its military unit.

Read: Philippine government, communist rebels sign ceasefire deal

Jalandoni initially offered to resign 11 years ago when he was 70 years old, but was requested to stay. He will continue to be involved in the negotiations as senior adviser.

CPP founding leader Jose Maria Sison said Jalandoni will still "be around, sharing his experience, insight and foresight."

Agcaoili admitted it will be tough "getting the government to accept" their proposed socio-economic reforms.

"It will be hard to take over, but I will do my best," he said.

"Ngayon maganda ang mga oportunidad na binubukas dahil na nga rin sa pinapakitang political will ni President Duterte at tsaka meron din naming political will ang kilusan," Agcaoili said.

(Translation: Now is a good opportunity because of President Duterte's political will, and also, the movement also has a political will.)

Meanwhile, the NDFP also appointed Benito Tiamzon as panel member. He is currently a consultant of the group.

Out on bail to participate in the talks, Tiamzon  is an alleged NPA leader facing criminal charges for the murder of 15 communist members in a supposed bid to purge their ranks of military informants. The NDFP said these charges are "trumped up."

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