Duterte sup­ports lo­cal­ized talks with Reds in Davao

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte on Tues­day ex­pressed sup­port for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s ini­tia­tive to have lo­cal­ized peace ne­go­ti­a­tions with com­mu­nist rebels.

Upon his ar­rival in Davao City af­ter his Ja­pan trip, Duterte called on the com­mu­nist group, es­pe­cially its armed wing, the New Peo­ple Army (NPA), to join the gov­ern­ment in pur­su­ing peace and or­der in the co u n t r y.

“On In­day’s [Sara Duterte] lo­cal ini­tia­tive, I am en­cour­ag­ing her [to con­tinue it]. And to the New Peo­ple’s Army, do not take it so badly. It’s not com­pul­sory. Those who only want respite, [join the peace ne­go­ti­a­tion],” he told re­porters on Tues­day night.

The younger Duterte ear­lier an­nounced his plan to pur­sue lo­cal­ized peace talks with com­mu­nist in­sur­gents, de­spite the ter­mi­na­tion of talks fol­low­ing the NPA’s string of at­tacks against gov­ern­ment forces.

The fifth round of talks sched­uled for May 27 to June 1 was can­celed be­cause of the “chal­lenges” faced by both par­ties.

La­bor Sec­re­tary Sil­vestre Bello, III, gov­ern­ment’s chief peace ne­go­tia­tor, ear­lier said the Pres­i­dent was “not aban­don­ing” his promise to seek “last­ing peace” by com­ing up with a suc­cess­ful deal with the com­mu­nists dur­ing his six-year term.

Duterte, how­ever, has been flip-flop­ping on his re­mark, say­ing there would be “no more talks” with the com­mu­nist rebels but would, later on, said that he was still open to ne­go­ti­a­tion with them.

In his lat­est pro­nounce­ment, the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive said that sev­eral job op­por­tu­ni­ties await mem­bers of the com­mu­nist party who are will­ing to sur­ren­der.

Duterte added that he would “take care of them,” if they de­cide to co­op­er­ate with the gov­ern­ment in pur­suit of peace and or­der.

“If you are tired killing another hu­man be­ing, you’re al­ways in­vited to go back main­stream. Re­turn and I will take care of you. And even­tu­ally, just to pre­pare you for the en­try into the main­line of so­ci­ety, main­stream rather,” he said.

“I am not about to ready to give up ev­ery­thing and any­thing in the al­tar of peace for our coun­try,” the Pres­i­dent added. (Ruth Abbey Gita/ SunS­tar Philip­pines)

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