By Argyll Geducos
President Duterte said that he has now given up on trying to talk peace with the New People’s Army (NPA),
Duterte made the statement days after he formally announced the dissolution of the government peace panel created to negotiate with the communist rebels.
In a speech in Cagayan De Oro Sunday evening, Duterte said that talking to the Communist rebels was useless since they continue to sow terror despite negotiating for peace with the government.
“Ang NPA, ako na’y ni-surrender (With the NPA, I am the one who surrendered). I said I will stop talking to them because it is really useless,” he said.
“We have been talking for the last 30 years. And they have been trying to destroy the legitimate government since 53 years ago. Wala gyud ta’y ma — wala gyud ta’y ma… (We will never achieve anything out of it),” he added.
According to Duterte, people can still continue to dream that there will be peace in Mindanao with respect to the Communist rebels. However, he said the failures of the peace talks over the last year qwre proof that nothing will ever be achieved.
“It could be a dream nga naa pay pag-asa (that we still have hope). Fifty-three years would tell you that it amounts to nothing,” he said.
“So ana akong gisulti sa mga sundalo, sulti nako sa mga pulis, ‘Tapuson ta nalang ni. Either kitay musurrender or silay musurrender. Either kitay mahurot o hutdon gyud nato sila’ (So I told the soldiers and the police, ‘Let’s finish this. It’s either we surrender or they do. It’s either they’ll defeat us or we’ll defeat them’),” he added.
“Ang ilang gusto (They want) armed struggle. The word itself or the words — the two words connote violence,” he continued.
Over the weekend, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that despite Duterte’s pronouncements, the government will not be giving up on peace in Mindanao.
“The administration still seeks peace. We are just trying a different tact by localizing the peace talks as the concerns of rebel groups vary from one locality to another especially so that Mr. Sison appears not to have control over the communist forces on the ground,” he said.
While acknowledging that the peace talks could still be revived under a different administration, Panelo said that it will not prosper unless the Communist rebels begin to show more sincerity in the negotiations.
“The CPP/NPA/NDF must first demonstrate genuine sincerity in the peace process by laying down their arms and shun its acts of violence, which include murder, rape, extortion, and destruction of public infrastructure and private properties,” he said.
“Until such demonstration of sincerity, the localized peace talks shall be given impetus,” he added.
President Duterte canceled the peace talks with the Communist rebels in November 2017 via Proclamation No. 360, citing the Reds’ insincerity to the ensure the success of the process.