PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has called off the peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front-New People's Army (NPA) and we understand his frustration.

Having extended a lot to show sincerity, the rebels are insisting that they be given everything even before they agree on anything.

As the President representing the Filipino people, he cannot do that because he is not in power to serve just the interest of the rebels, but to serve the interest of the greater majority of the Filipinos.

The left has been attacking Duterte for treating "political prisoners as bargaining chips," having released the key officers including communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon last August 2016 and several others but refusing to release all.

In December last year, Duterte explicitly said that he will not order the release the 100-plus political detainees the left demands.

"They're asking for 130 detainees to be released, all NPAs. Sorry, I cannot do that. I cannot do it kasi ubusin nila ang baraha ko (because they are finishing up my cards)," he was quoted as saying.

"Sabihin ko sa inyo, ang alas ko 'yung nasa kulungan (Let me tell you, those people in prison are my ace)."

Having said he will not, the left raised their demand to release all 432 political detainees and taunted the President for not being sincere in his offer of peace.

But in the same press conference in Albay last year, Duterte said, "I have conceded to the communists too much, too soon. As yet, I have yet to see a substantive progress in the talks."

The left are crying foul, but we say, the President is right. For in negotiating for something as valuable as peace, you cannot give away everything to those who have the means to continue the war not unless they sign, with their blood if possible, an agreement to agree to put down their arms and live under one Filipino nation.

But the left are not doing enough to merit a general amnesty nor a ceasefire, especially because it was the NPA that terminated their unilateral ceasefire first. Peace is a state that everyone should work for, it should not be held hostage by a sector who has taken up arms.

Everyone knows, however, that achieving peace is very difficult especially when waging war has become a vocation. But this cannot go on for eternity.

Let us, as a people, cultivate peace in our own communities. Let us cultivate a culture of understanding by reaching out to our neighbors and fanning a spirit of community. Let us cultivate a culture of caring by working together as a community to help the less fortunate get a foothold to a better life. Let us cultivate a culture of love by teaching our children that they should treat everybody with respect.

By doing so as one community, we can render the rebels irrelevant. It will take some time, it may not even happen in our generation, but we just have to take that step forward.