Duterte still keeping channels with communists open
President Rodrigo Duterte said he is still open on having peace talks with the communist rebels as he needs to keep the “fire burning”.
“I’d like you to know that we are keeping the fire burning and you cannot close it. You cannot afford to lose all channels of communication, you need to left at least small (opening),” Duterte said during a command conference Friday night in Pili, Camarines Sur.
Duterte said he is praying for a “real talk” once peace negotiations resume.
The president’s statement came after announcing he is ordering the military to destroy the rebels last December.
“But I tell you… I pray that if there’s going to be a talk --- really talk. I don’t know what will happen and if it can happen at all,” he said.
Duterte said he has a good communication with Muslim rebels but having a hard time with the communists.
“The one that is really hard (to talk to) and I can see as no chance is (CPP leader) Jose Maria Sison,” he said. CPP refers to Communist Party of the Philippines.
“Even if they say that there is no coalition but they want to join our economic bodies like NEDA (National Economic Development Authority), the Department of Trade, ah that’s difficult,” he added, citing former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano that he appointed as Cabinet officials but allegedly used their position to help the NPA rebels.
He also mentioned NDF ( National Democratic Front) negotiators Fidel Agcaoili and Luis Jalandoni
“Agcaoili mixes the negotiation with legal. I said, “Ah (this is) nothing.” They came here. They wanted to talk to me. I said, 'No.',” Duterte said.
Sison, in a statement at the NDF website Saturday, welcomed the president’s statement saying there is still an exchange of hostile words in the mass media and exchange of bullets in the battlefield.
“Enemies need peace negotiations before they can become friends or partners for the sake of the Filipino people who desire social, economic and political reforms as basis for a just and lasting peace,” Sison said.
The communist leader said it is the NDF’s consistent policy to be open to peace talks despite their determination to oust Duterte.
“It is for the benefit of the people that the peace negotiations resume and stop the Duterte regime from proclaiming martial law nationwide, from calling off or rigging the May 2019 elections and from pursuing the scheme to impose a fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people via charter change for a bogus kind of federalism,” he said.
“The NDF presumes that, when peace negotiations resume, the way is open to the forging of agreements on social, economic and political reforms that are desired and needed by the people,” said Sison. Ella Dionisio/DMS