MANILA

Duterte 'keeping the fire burning' for revival of peace talks

DESPITE his strained ties with the communist movement, President Rodrigo Duterte is keeping the fire of hope burning in the possible resumption of peace talks.

Duterte, who previously said he would no longer talk to the communists, admitted on Friday, January 4, that he remained open to reviving the peace negotiations.

While he knew that it was difficult to talk to the communist leaders, the President said he could not bear losing “all channels of communication” with the communist guerillas, amid his efforts to maintain peace and order in the country.

“Pero sabi ko sa inyo (I tell you), I pray that if there’s going to be a talk, [it's] really a talk. I don’t know what will happen and if it can happen at all,” he said during a situation briefing in Pili, Camarines Sur after the onslaught of Tropical Depression Usman.

“I’d like you to know that we are keeping the fire burning and hindi mo pwedeng sarahan eh (and you cannot close your doors). You cannot afford to lose all channels of communication, mag-iwan ka talaga maski maliit (you have to give a little chance for them),” he added.

This was Duterte's latest pronouncement in his series of flip-flops about the peace talks.

Communist rebels' string of attacks against the government forces prompted Duterte to terminate the peace negotiations with the communists in November 2017.

On December 5, Duterte said he was “no longer ready” to pursue the peace dialogue with communist rebels.

Also on December 22, the Chief Executive ordered the Philippine troops to not just fight but “destroy” the communist movement and its legal fronts, who he claimed are conniving to topple his administration.

Duterte's statement came three days after communist founder Jose Maria Sison announced that his party's goal this year was to oust the President.

But for the President, the communist guerillas were merely unaware of the adverse effects of insurgency.

“I cannot be fighting the Filipinos by armed struggle. Papatay ako ng kapwa ko Pilipino diyan. Sumibat ako, sumibat talaga ako. Sabi ko, hindi ko kaya ‘yan (I cannot afford killing my fellow Filipino. I really can't do it),” Duterte said.

“Ang problema lang nito (The problem is) they do not know what is really the real score and what is the impact of the insurgency sa kanilang buhay (in their life). Wala (They know nothing). They never saw Sison tapos maniwala sila sa utak ni Sison (and yet, they believe Sison),” Duterte said. (SunStar Philippines)


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