Pres­i­dent ‘keep­ing the fire burn­ing’ for re­vival of peace talks

Sun Star Bacolod - - Topstories -

DE­SPITE his strained ties with the com­mu­nist move­ment, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte is keep­ing the fire of hope burn­ing in the pos­si­ble re­sump­tion of peace talks.

Duterte, who pre­vi­ously said he would no longer talk to the com­mu­nists, ad­mit­ted on Fri­day, Jan­uary 4, that he re­mained open to re­viv­ing the peace ne­go­ti­a­tions.

While he knew that it was dif­fi­cult to talk to the com­mu­nist lead­ers, the Pres­i­dent said he could not bear los­ing “all channels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion” with the com­mu­nist gueril­las, amid his ef­forts to main­tain peace and or­der in the coun­try.

“Pero sabi ko sa inyo (I tell you), I pray that if there’s go­ing to be a talk, [it’s] re­ally a talk. I don’t know what will hap­pen and if it can hap­pen at all,” he said dur­ing a sit­u­a­tion brief­ing in Pili, Ca­marines Sur af­ter the on­slaught of Trop­i­cal De­pres­sion Us­man.

“I’d like you to know that we are keep­ing the fire burn­ing and hindi mo pwe­deng sara­han eh (and you can­not close your doors). You can­not af­ford to lose all channels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mag-iwan ka ta­laga maski maliit (you have to give a lit­tle chance for them),” he added.

This was Duterte’s lat­est pro­nounce­ment in his se­ries of flip-flops about the peace talks.

Com­mu­nist rebels’ string of at­tacks against the gov­ern­ment forces prompted Duterte to ter­mi­nate the peace ne­go­ti­a­tions with the com­mu­nists in Novem­ber 2017.

On De­cem­ber 5, Duterte said he was “no longer ready” to pur­sue the peace di­a­logue with com­mu­nist rebels.

Also on De­cem­ber 22, the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive or­dered the Philip­pine troops to not just fight but “de­stroy” the com­mu­nist move­ment and its le­gal fronts, who he claimed are con­niv­ing to top­ple his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Duterte’s state­ment came three days af­ter com­mu­nist founder Jose Maria Sison an­nounced that his party’s goal this year was to oust the Pres­i­dent.

But for the Pres­i­dent, the com­mu­nist gueril­las were merely un­aware of the ad­verse ef­fects of in­sur­gency.

“I can­not be fight­ing the Filipinos by armed

strug­gle. Pa­p­atay ako ng kapwa ko Pilipino diyan. Su­mi­bat ako, su­mi­bat ta­laga ako. Sabi ko, hindi ko kaya ‘yan (I can­not af­ford killing my fel­low Filipino. I re­ally can’t do it),” Duterte said.

“Ang prob­lema lang nito (The prob­lem is) they do not know what is re­ally the real score and what is the im­pact of the in­sur­gency sa kani­lang buhay (in their life). Wala (They know noth­ing). They never saw Sison tapos mani­wala sila sa utak ni Sison (and yet, they be­lieve Sison),” Duterte said./suns­tar Philip­pines

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