By Genalyn D. Kabiling
President Duterte is not yet inclined to lift the terrorist tag on the communist rebels despite his offer to jumpstart the peace talks.
The Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (NPA) have been declared terrorist organizations for their atrocities against government troops and civilians in Proclamation No. 374 issued by the President last December.
“Not yet,” the President said during a press conference in Davao City, when asked if he would lift the proclamation.
Duterte admitted that he was still waiting for the word of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III, also head of the government peace panel in the talks with the communist group, on the matter.
For now, the President said he wants to give the peace talks with the communist rebels another chance. He noted that he has already offered a 60-day window for the peace talks he hopes to review with the communists.
Duterte also urged anew CPP founder Jose Maria Sison to return home and join the peace talks with the government. He has promised to give Sison safe passage as well as pay for his lodging expenses during the negotiations.
The President also insisted that the communists must agree to a ceasefire before the peace talks could resume.