MALACAÑANG on Monday cited at least four “compelling reasons” for President Rodrigo Duterte to retract his pronouncement that the peace talks would no longer be possible during his watch.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the communist rebels should agree to have a bilateral ceasefire with the government in terms of “the so-called revolutionary tax or extortion; ambushes on military personnel; burning of property; and provocative and hostile actions.”

“Considering the unprecedented goodwill the President has shown, these actions from NDF (National Democratic Front) may provide compelling reason and could put at ease, to some extent, the apprehension of the military and the administration. After all, when guns are silent, we can better listen to each other,” Abella said.

The government and the NDF, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), were scheduled to hold its another round of talks in the Netherlands from February 22 to 27 to discuss the bilateral agreement.

The peace negotiation was scheduled ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that he is terminating the government’s peace talks with the communist group.

Following Duterte’s announcement, the military has declared an all-out war on the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army since they are now being considered by the President as “terrorist group.”

The CPP, however, remained hopeful that it would be able to sign a “mutually acceptable and enforceable” bilateral ceasefire agreement with the other party.

Abella said the four “compelling reasons” need to be provided by the communists, in order to revive the peace negotiations.

Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza welcomed the "positive" position coming from the leadership of the communist group but stressed that the government would only take the "next necessary steps," if the compelling reasons materialize. (SunStar Philippines)