Lorenzana says peace talks with communists won't resume '' in the near future''
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Sunday Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison wants peace talks to resume ''to remain relevant,'' but the Cabinet member believes negotiations will not resume ''in the near future''.
In a statement to defense reporters on Viber, Lorenzana added that Sison's call to oust President Rodrigo Duterte is "hollow" since Duterte remains popular. ''But he has to make it ostensibly to rally his fighters," added Lorenzana.
"With his threat to oust PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) and the continuing attacks, extortion and burning of construction equipment, I personally don’t see any chance of resumption of talks in the near future. I have consistently said that Sison and his people should also show some sincerity," he explained.
"He knows that the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army) is fast losing against our new approach of addressing the insurgency. Deep in his heart he longs for the resumption of the peace talks to remain relevant," said Lorenzana.
'Now that the President has hinted that a peace talks is still possible he jumps in and say he is ready for talks," Lorenzana added. The Philippines ended negotiations with the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines on November 2017.
Duterte made the statement last Friday during a command conference to assess the damage from Tropical Depression "Usman" in Pili, Camarines Sur.
Lorenzana said Sison's threat is in conflict with the president's conditions to resume peace talks including no attacks on government, forces and civilians, no extortion and no destruction of properties.
"The President has consistently said that he would reopen the talks if he believes there is a compelling reason to do so," Lorenzana said. He also called for Sison and his group to "show some sincerity" Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS