“Go down here so we can talk.”
This is what President Duterte told local armed communists in the country, saying he was still willing to talk peace with them and that the government will welcome them.
Duterte made the statement as he led the joint meeting of the national and regional anti-communism task forces meeting in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday, March 5.
In his speech, Duterte renewed his offer to the rebels for a local peace talks.
“This is my request: Go down here so we can talk. Do you want us to talk in the mountains? I will be the one to go up there,” he said in Bisaya.
“I’m used to having dialogues with you, right? I’m used to that. If you want me to go there alone, then we can talk there. But you should swear on your honor that I go up there alive and come back down alive. Let’s talk,” he added.
For those who want to return to the fold of the law, Duterte said his government is ready to provide them with shelter and livelihood.
He said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will extend skills training to rebel returnees for them to secure well-paying jobs.
“For those who do not want war, those who understand what’s wrong and right, you know that we will know if what you did was right or wrong, we will still welcome you,” the President the rebels.
“I’ll give you a house and a job. And while you don’t have a job, I’ll give you rice. I’ll also find a job for your wife. TESDA is there,” he added.
President Duterte has abandoned the peace talks with the communist rebels in November 2017 for being insincere to the talks. He also claimed that the communist movement is insisting on a coalition government, something that he said is non-negotiable.