Duterte sets conditions for talks with Reds
President Rodrigo Duterte has set conditions to the National Democratic Front to resume peace talks.
“Release all the soldiers and civilians that they hold hostage…. they should stop asking for things. They're burning a lot of things now and we'll never meet each other half way if that's the case. It just embarrasses the government. They give us their word but it doesn't bear any fruit. That's very difficult,” Duterte said in an ambush interview with reporters in Cagayan de Oro City last Friday.
Duterte said he is ready to resume peace negotiations between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) New People’s Army (NPA) National Democratic Front (NDF) as long as they are ready to talk for peace.
“I'm ready as long as we communicate well. I'm ready to resume the ceasefire again, but this time I want it to be sincere. Back then, there was a ceasefire but my soldiers were killed. That's so difficult. But I'm ready for different kinds of talks. I'm ready to resume the ceasefire again as long as it is working towards peace,” Duterte said.
“I do not want war. It's a waste of money. Instead of bullets I can buy machines and give it to help others,” he added.
Duterte noted that he prefer to have sincere talks than fighting countrymen.?
“I'm open to talk to the rebels, just not the killers. I'm ready to talk and I'm ready to stop this war. I would prefer for us to not have war, but we need to talk from the heart. I get hurt. I get really hurt if someone from the other side dies. Those are Filipinos,” he said.
“Me, I'm in the government and I have a job to do. Please understand that. It pains me to see Filipinos fighting against fellow Filipinos. I just want peace,” he added.
Early February, Duterte decided to end peace talks between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF after rebels conducted series of violent activities including the brutal killing of three soldiers in Bukidnon. Robina Asido/DMS