PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he has to “think a thousand times” before ordering the revival of peace negotiations with the communist rebels.

Duterte said he is mulling to consult Cabinet officials, including the three of them who belong to the leftist group, about the possible lifting of his order to terminate the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

He said the government’s interest must prosper, just in case he decide to revive the peace dialogue.

“I will think about it, I will think a hundred times, then consult the Cabinet, including the Left leaning members of the Cabinet. We are government. We are a working government and now, we can work well with each other,” the President told reporters.

“It’s best that we discuss it sometime, not now, about how to go – about this problem and how [to] navigate again the stormy waters of our conflict. But government’s interest must prevail,” he added.

Duterte had cancelled the peace talks after the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of CPP, lifted its unilateral ceasefire with the government. He had also announced that he is now considering the CPP/NPA/NDF as “terrorist group.”

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte may continue the peace talks with the communists if they agree to have a bilateral ceasefire with the government, when it comes to “the so-called revolutionary tax; ambushes on military personnel; burning of property; and provocative and hostile actions.” (SunStar Philippines)