Gov't releasing 400 political prisoners via peace talks with CPP-NDF

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(File photo) Peace panels of the Philippine Government and of the CPP-NPA-NDFP proceed with negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Four hundred political prisoners will be freed by the government once it signs a bilateral ceasefire agreement with communist rebel leaders.

The chairman of the government's peace panel — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello — will sign the bilateral ceasefire in Rome, Italy, during the third round of peace talks between the Philippine government and the communist National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The peace talks will resume on January 19-25.

This information was released by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Bello confirmed the release of the political prisoners as part of the confidence-building measures of the Duterte administration for the peace talks.

"Yeah, because the president promised [the release of the political prisoners]. So, palagay ko, after the signing of even just the ceasefire agreement, magkakaron na ng releases, kasi ongoing na yung proseso eh," he said.

[Translation: Yeah, because the president promised the release of the political prisoners. So, I think, after the signing of even just the ceasefire agreement, the release will start because the process is already ongoing.]

However, Bello said, the prisoners' release will have to go through the legal process.

Last year, the government freed more than 20 communist rebel leaders and consultants so they could join the peace talks.

The third round of talks in Rome will tackle crucial issues, such as the bilateral ceasefire agreement and socio-economic reforms.