PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday expressed support for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's initiative to have localized peace negotiations with communist rebels.
Upon his arrival in Davao City after his Japan trip, Duterte called on the communist group, especially its armed wing, the New People Army (NPA), to join the government in pursuing peace and order in the country.
“On Inday’s [Sara Duterte] local initiative, I am encouraging her [to continue it]. And to the New People’s Army, do not take it so badly. It’s not compulsory. Those who only want respite, [join the peace negotiation],” he told reporters on Tuesday night.
The younger Duterte earlier announced his plan to pursue localized peace talks with communist insurgents, despite the termination of talks following the NPA’s string of attacks against government forces.
The fifth round of talks scheduled for May 27 to June 1 was canceled because of the “challenges” faced by both parties.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, III, government’s chief peace negotiator, earlier said the President was “not abandoning” his promise to seek “lasting peace” by coming up with a successful deal with the communists during his six-year term.
Duterte, however, has been flip-flopping on his remark, saying there would be “no more talks” with the communist rebels but would, later on, said that he was still open to negotiation with them.
In his latest pronouncement, the Chief Executive said that several job opportunities await members of the communist party who are willing to surrender.
Duterte added that he would “take care of them,” if they decide to cooperate with the government in pursuit of peace and order.
“If you are tired killing another human being, you’re always invited to go back mainstream. Return and I will take care of you. And eventually, just to prepare you for the entry into the mainline of society, mainstream rather,” he said.
“I am not about to ready to give up everything and anything in the altar of peace for our country,” the President added. (SunStar Philippines)