PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he was not eager to revive the peace negotiations with the communist rebels.
"No more talks. None," the President reiterated in an interview with broadcaster Erwin Tulfo aired on government-run PTV4 aired on Friday night.
"To the communists, let us fight again. Let us fight again for another 50 years," he added.
Duterte's latest pronouncement was contrary to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III's statement on Thursday that the Chief Executive was still open to the possible resumption of the peace negotiations.
Bello, the government’s chief peace negotiator, told Palace reporters that the President was “not abandoning” his promise to pursue "lasting peace" under his term by ensuring that the peace negotiations between the government and the communist rebels would be successful.
“When the President came in as our president, he made a very clear statement that his legacy to our countrymen is a lasting peace for our country. So I don’t think that the President has abandoned that legacy,” he said.
“The talks are alive and we are just waiting for the President to give us the instruction to go back to the peace table,” he added.
Duterte has been flip-flopping on the idea of reviving the peace negotiations, questioning the sincerity of the communists in dealing with the government.
The government canceled the scheduled dialogue with the communist leaders from May 27 to June 1 because of “serious challenges” in the peace talks.
The negotiation was moved to August but it was once again called off by the President as he was not convinced that the communist group was ready to resume the talks. (SunStar Philippines)