Duterte seeks 60-day “window” for peace talks with Reds
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he will give the communist rebels a 60-day "window" for the revival of the peace talks.
In a speech in Albay on Saturday, the Chief Executive also said he was talking to Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison and urging him to return to the Philippines so that they could discuss well.
"I am talking to Sison now. It's an off and on thing. Probably the military and the police have misgivings, but as I've told you, I am not a President who is a soldier and I am not a President who is a policeman," he said.
On April 4, Duterte ordered the concerned government officials to revive the peace negotiation with the communist rebels after terminating it last year.
"I created a small window, 60 days. My proposal to Sison, I won't go there. We are fighting over the Philippines so you come here," Duterte said.
Sison has been in exile in the Netherlands since the peace talks with the administration of then President Corazon Aquino bogged down in 1987.
Duterte said the government is ready to shoulder the transportation, accommodation and food of those who would participate in the peace talks.
"Those guerrilla front, you stay in one place, go to your camp. Bring all your firearms inside your camp," he said.
But if the rebels would want to go out of the camp, they should leave their weapons there, he said.
"But I will give you the complete freedom to move. I will not harass anyone. I will order the military and the police to be nice to you," he added.
He told the rebels to take advantage of the 60-day time frame.
"If it succeeds, then I would like to thank God first, and the Filipino people and the military and the police for their understanding. I cannot do anything, I have to seek peace that is to be sought," he said.
In November last year, Duterte issued a proclamation terminating the peace talks with the Maoist rebels due to their continued attacks against the government forces and the civilians. He later declared the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations. Ella Dionisio/DMS