MANILA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government is ready to engage the leftist National Democratic Front (NDF) in discussing the major substantive agenda when the next round of formal talks resume later this week in Italy, a senior government official said Monday.
The third round of peace negotiations resume on January 17-25 in Rome.
"We are all set and ready to engage the NDF in the discussion of all substantive agenda including supplemental agreements needed to proceed and arrive at a peaceful negotiated political settlement to end the armed conflict in the country," said Labor Secretary and chief government negotiator Silvestre Bello III in a statement.
Bello is set to submit Monday to President Duterte the draft documents that will be tabled for discussion in the upcoming talks for approval.
Among the documents include the draft agreements and principles for the comprehensive agreement on socio-economic reforms, comprehensive agreement on political and constitutional reforms, and comprehensive agreement on end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
"We are doing this in the spirit of true reconciliation and genuine quest for just and lasting peace," Bello explained.
Bello said he was confident major breakthroughs would again be achieved in the Rome talks. Norway is the facilitator in the peace talks.
"We are prepared to sign side and other agreements while we are discussing contents and provisions of the major substantive agenda," the chief government negotiator added.
"And we are challenging the NDF to formalize the unilateral ceasefire with a bilateral ceasefire agreement to give our communities and combatants a more secure environment for the peace process," Bello added.
The government forces and the leftist rebels have their respective existing unilateral truce. The Duterte administration has been pushing for a bilateral ceasefire.
Formal peace talks between the government and the NDF have been stalled for over five years and only resumed in August last year shortly after Duterte assumed the presidency.
The leftist rebels have been waging war against the government for 48 years.