Palace: There's still room for di­a­logue be­tween gov't, Reds

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

PRES­I­DENT

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

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