By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is prepared to consider the revival of the peace talks with the communist rebel group if its leader Jose Maria Sison could give him a “good reason” to do it.
The President issued the challenge to Sison after admitting he needed “more” from the rebels to show they were sincere in talking peace.
“Jose Maria Sison give me a good reason to go back to the bargaining table. If there is none or if it’s just a repeat of what we have discussed earlier then that will not suffice,” Duterte said during the birthday celebration of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Davao City last Sunday night.
“I need more, I need more. I might be greedy but I am greedy because I am the worker of the Republic of the Philippines,” he added.
The President, however, made clear that he would not talk to the rebel “on bended knees.” Duterte insisted that he would not let the rebels issue demands such as forging a coalition government.
“I will not talk to you on bended knees na kayo ang mag-dictate? Ako ‘yung dapat ‘yung tigas, bakit kayo? [where you will dictate? I should be the one who’s tough, why you?],” he said.
But if the rebels won’t talk peace, Duterte warned that the decades-old battle would likely continue and predict the defeat of the communists.
“If you want to — like the communists 52 years already and you want another 50 — 52 years of blood of your own countrymen, alam mo naman hindi na mananalo eh, you cannot even hang on to one barangay [you know you can never win, you cannot even hang on to one barangay],” he said.
“Magsalita mayabang. Diyan ako naiinis kaya ayaw ko ng p**… Makipaglaban ka sa akin may Air Force ako, may Police ako, may Navy ako, may Army ako [They talk with arrogance. I’m annoyed with that. You fight with me when I have an Air Force, I have the police, I have the Navy, I have the Army?],” he said.
“Itong mga ‘to wala ngang headquarters wala — tapos kung magsalita akala mo kung sino. Stop it. Kung gusto ninyo sige [They don’t even have headquarters and yet they talk as if they’re big shots. Stop it. If they want, so be it],” he said.
The government earlier suspended peace negotiations with the communist rebels set last June pending a review of the past signed agreements and public consultation.
Duterte has said peace talks would only resume provided conditions are met such as holding the negotiations in the country, ceasefire pact, no collection of revolutionary tax, and no coalition government.