Palace: There's still room for dialogue between gov't, Reds
Rodrigo Duterte is not closing doors to a possible revival of peace negotiations with the communist rebels, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte merely wanted to feel the sincerity of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), especially its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), before he orders the resumption of the talks.
"The President has not completely ruled out the resumption of peace talks. What he wants to see is sincerity on the part of CPP-NPA," Roque told a press conference in Palace press briefing room.
On October 31, Duterte expressed support over the initiative of his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, to push for localized peace talks with the communist insurgents in their home province.
The younger Duterte's intent to pursue localized talks with communists came amid the stalled peace talks between state peace negotiators and consultants of CPP's political wing, the New Democratic Front (NDF).
The government peace panel and NDF leaders canceled their fifth round of talks set from May 27 to June 1 because of the “challenges” met by both parties.
Duterte, in his second State of the Nation Address, declared that there would be “no more talks” with the communist group, following the continuing offensives of NPA rebels against the state forces.
The President also announced that the communist party was the government's next target once the Marawi crisis ends.
He, however, recanted his statements and alluded several times that there was still room for dialogue between the two parties.
Earlier, government's chief peace negotiator Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Duterte was "not abandoning" his campaign promise to pursue "lasting peace" in the country by forging a peace pact with the communist rebels.
Duterte, in his latest remark, appealed to the communists to just submit themselves to the authorities as he was willing to "take care of them."
"I am not about to ready to give up everything and anything in the altar of peace for our country," the Chief Executive told reporters in Davao City on October 31.
Roque said the talks could only resume if communist rebels stop their hostile activities.
"So as I said, the doors are not completely closed but he (Duterte) wants to see sincerity on the part CPP-NPA. And he said it over and over again [that] he wants all fighting to stop during his administration," he said. (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines) the