Duterte wants to resume talks with Reds despite encounter

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte remained hopeful that the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) will be successful, despite his order to lift the unilateral ceasefire with them.

“I hope that we can proceed with the talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Duterte said in a speech he delivered at the oath taking of over 20 appointed officials in Malacañang.

“We are hoping that we can just talk. Maybe we don’t understand each other. And so the best thing really is to talk again and find out whether it is reachable or beyond our reach,” he added.

On Saturday, the President suspended the truce with the communist rebels after his 5 p.m. deadline for them to reciprocate such order had lapsed.

Duterte was prompted to make the ultimatum after the New People’s Army (NPA) killed a government militiaman in Davao del Norte last week. However, the NPA said it was the Armed Forces of the Philippines who first violated the ceasefire.

Despite this, the President said the negotiation between the government peace panel and the radical groups will continue.

“I cannot stop talking about peace. I am the President who hopes to bring peace to this land,” he said. “We cannot agree on all of these things [but] at this time, I just believe that I have to look for that peace for my country during my generation. If I fail, it will be difficult.”

Asked then if he is confident that peace in Mindanao will be attained under his administration, Duterte said: “I am really [hoping for that], I pray to God because I want it to be done in my generation.”

Duterte said that in the next 10 days, he would go to Mindanao and talk with the communist leaders for the resumption of peace talks in Oslo, Norway on August 20.

“I have to fix Mindanao issue. I have to travel to Cotabato, talk again [with the communist leaders there]. I have to travel to Jolo to talk to Nur [Misuari, the founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front,” the President said.

He added that he would still order the temporary release of some of the communist leaders once the peace dialogue resumes.

“I told the military, I might want to consider their release just for a day,” Duterte said. “If I do not talk to them, how will I fix this thing?” (Sunnex)
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