By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte wants peace talks with communist rebels held in Manila, with exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison participating.
Mr. Duterte also said on Saturday, April 21, he has set a “two-month” time frame for the resumption of peace negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army- National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA- NDF).
“I created a small window, 60 days. Proposal ko kay Sison hindi ako magpunta doon. Ang pinag-awayan natin ang Pilipinas man. O so pumunta ka dito (My proposal to [Mr.] Sison is that I should not be the one to go [to the Netherlands]. We are fighting over the Philippines, so he should come here),” Mr. Duterte said in his speech during the 24th National Federation of Motorcycle Clubs of the Philippines (NFMCP) Annual Convention held in Legazpi City, Albay.
He added: “If it succeeds, then I would like to thank God una (first) and the Filipino people and the military and the police and…for their understanding.”
Mr. Duterte also assured the rebels that the police and the military will be “nice” to them during the peace talks.
“I will give you the complete freedom to move. I will order the military and the police to be nice to you.”
According to the President, the communication between the government and Mr. Sison has been “off and on.”
“I’m talking to Sison now. It’s an off and on thing. Probably, (the) military (and the) police (have) misgivings, but I have told you already that I am not a President who is a soldier and I am not a President who is a policeman. My duty, my fundamental basic duty, is to see to it that the country is peaceful.”
In a statement, the CCP said it “welcomes the possible resumption of the NDFP-GRP peace talks after GRP President Duterte reversed his earlier proclamation terminating negotiations in November last year.”
“The Filipino people await a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms (CASER) that would address the aspirations of the people to seek an end to their oppressive and exploitative conditions,” the party also said.
The CPP said further it “is keenly aware that while efforts to revive peace negotiations are underway, bureaucrat capitalist crime and corruption, more burdensome taxes and other neoliberal policies under the Duterte regime are worsening, as well as widespread extrajudicial killings, subservience to the US, and fascist onslaughts against the people.”
“The people must continue to wage all-out resistance and mount organized protest actions to amplify their democratic demands for land reform, wage increases, jobs, expanded social services and so on,” the party said.