Duterte seeks to reopen talks with Left Featured

Duterte seeks to reopen talks with Left Image: Rappler

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte wants to revive the collapsed peace talks with the communist underground movement, but under terms that may cause the Left to balk and say, “No, thanks.”
Under the Duterte administration, the talks had actually reached a fifth round when the communists suddenly decided to scrap further communication. Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison even said that there will be no resumption of talks as long as Mr. Duterte was president. Each side blamed the other for attacks that undermined the talks.
In a press briefing in Davao City on Tuesday, Oct. 31 where the president arrived after a two-day official visit to Japan, he said he wanted to “continuously talk” with the Left. The president appeared to change his mind from his earlier stand that to continue peace talks with the rebels would just be “a waste of the people’s money.”
He offered New People’s Army (NPA) rebels a package of jobs and houses on one condition – surrender.
“ I am addressing myself to all the soldiers of the New People’s Army. Mag-surrender na lang kayo ngayon at ibaba ninyo ang inyong baril o i-surrender ninyo,” he said, “May trabaho kayo naghihintay. I am building, all throughout the country, almost 5,000 sa National Housing Authority.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 1, Labor Secretary and chief government peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III said President Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte had already set the stage for the resumption of peace talks on a national level by meeting with the Left from Davao.
Mayor Duterte recently created the Davao City Peace Committee to negotiate with the NPA in her city.
President Duterte said he was supportive of the move of his daughter.
On May 27, Mr. Duterte said he longer wanted to talk with the communists after a series of attacks on soldiers and a Presidential Security Group convoy in various parts of the country.
Backchannel talks with the National Democratic Front were also scrapped.
But on Tuesday evening, Mr. Duterte said he was “not ready to give up” the peace talks with the communists.
“Fifty years in the making, then you are another 50 years. We can talk continuously with the left. I am not about ready to give up everything and anything in the, in the altar of peace for our country,” he said. “I do not fight them with money or… I’m just saying na kung mag-surrender kayo, ayaw na ninyo gusto ng patayan, or pumatay ng kapwa mo Pilipino, mag-surrender ka na. Bigyan kita ng bahay automatic, at bigyan kita ng trabaho.”
Secretary Bello said he was hopeful on the resumption of the peace talks.
“The prospect of a resumption (peace talks) is very bright. We are just waiting for the final instruction from the President,” Bello said in a GMA News TV interview.

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