Palace: Peace talks to resume if Reds meet Duterte’s conditions

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FILE photo of Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque — PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

Malacañang on Wednesday, July 4, said President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s administration is still open to negotiations with communist rebels provided that his “conditions are met.”

“The door for peace talks remains open provided that PRRD’s conditions are met,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in a social media post on Wednesday evening.

According to the spokesman, the President wants the peace talks to take place “in the country.”

He added: “[There should be] no collection of revolutionary tax and no hostilities.”

Mr. Duterte also wants the fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA) “to remain encamped,” and that there will be “no [formation of a] coalition government.”

“Meanwhile, localized peace talks may be pursued by local government units (LGUs) provided they do not concede any aspect of governance and pursuant to guidelines to be agreed upon by the Cabinet cluster on security,” Mr. Roque also said.

In a press release, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said that the “local[ized] peace talks” will not prosper, because “(a)ll units of the NPA and committees of the CPP are united under the central leadership of the Party.”

The CPP added that “the Party and NPA fully support the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in its representation of all revolutionary forces in negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.”

“[The] So-called localized peace talks only seek to obscure the ruthlessness and brutality of the all-out military offensives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Under Oplan Kapayapaan, the AFP is mounting all-out offensives and laying siege on hundreds of barrios, carrying out aerial bombardments and perpetrating extrajudicial killings ala Tokhang, and other grave abuses against the peasants, national minorities and other oppressed peoples,” the CPP also said.