Duterte rules out peace talks with Reds

Published April 27, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte said he will never be ready to return to the negotiation table to talk peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) following the attacks launched by the New People’s Army (NPA) on soldiers while the country is fighting the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with some members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 13, 2020. (KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte made the statement after a number of reports were made over the past few weeks about NPA members attacking soldiers accompanying government officials who were distributing assistance to those affected by the pandemic.

In a taped address to the public aired late Monday night, President Duterte ruled out renegotiating peace with the communist rebels.

“There [are] no more peace talks to talk about. I am not and I will never be ready for any round of talks,” he said.

“The NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines, [have] no respect either for their spoken words or in their deeds of killing soldiers who are on humanitarian missions,” he added.

In December last year, President Duterte ordered Labor Secretary and government peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III to travel to the Netherlands to talk to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison about restarting the peace negotiations between the two parties.

“The longing for peace is always there. And not for the military and the police but for everybody. The doors must be open always or there must be at least one channel, if everything closes, na pwede mong pakiusapan (that you can use to talk),” he had said.

Over the weekend, Malacañang said the NPA should not expect the government to declare another ceasefire following their attacks on uniformed men.

Last week, President Duterte threatened to declare martial law in the country if the “lawlessness” of the NPA continues.

Meanwhile, Duterte on Monday expressed his gratitude to the police and the military for their sacrifices during the pandemic.

“I’d like to thank my gratitude to the uniformed services natin dito: Air Force [for] flying almost with nonstop… delivering the services and medical kits required, and for the Army for delivering also in company with the government workers,” he said.

The President, however, lamented that some of the country’s uniformed men had to perish while on humanitarian missions.

“It is a sad thing to know na ‘yung mga sundalo ko pinagpapatay (that my soldiers are being killed) when even doing the most honorable task of accompanying the government workers delivering money and the food,” he said.

“I’m so sad about this development, but there will always be a time for reckoning.”