The National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the government of President Rodrigo Duterte signed an indefinite cease-fire Friday after a week of peace talks in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
The move ends 27 years of peace negotiations that sought to end an armed conflict that has killed about 30,000 people, since a popular insurgency in the Philippines began in the 1960s.
Norway, which facilitated the talks, described the deal as a “historic breakthrough,” as both parties signed the joint statement that now has to be passed by the Philippine Congress.
"The joint statement we are signing manifests the historic significance of what we have achieved," said Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Philippines Communist Party party and Chairperson of the International League of Peoples' Struggle.
Meanwhile, the government’s delegation said it will encourage president Duterte to grant amnesty to political prisoners in order to include them in the negotiation. Both sides said they aim to complete the peace talks in nine to 12 months.
The negotiations with the Maoist rebels became a cornerstone of Duterte's administration, which began last June 30. During his first address to the nation he said he wanted a “permanent and lasting peace” with the guerrillas before the end of his six-year term.
Formal peace talks were also held in Oslo in 2011. However, the negotiations stalled in 2013 under Duterte's predecessor Benigno Aquino after he rejected the communists' demand to free all imprisoned guerrillas.