Palace dares Joma to ‘walk the talk’ and back Duterte’s call for peace
Malacañang on Sunday challenged Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison “to walk the talk” and support President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for conciliation towards the nation’s quest for a just, sustainable and enduring peace.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued this statement after Sison said that the President “is either trying to sound less hostile to the revolutionary movement or he is still hostile by trying to bribe the NPA fighters to surrender.”
The communist leader, meanwhile, was reacting to Duterte’s call to the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to abandon its armed struggle and return to the fold of the law.
“Drop the gun and there would be no problem,” the President said at the opening of Gaisano Grand Citygate Mall in Davao on Friday.
“We have been dismayed in numerous occasions over their opportunistic attacks amid the ongoing peace talks,” Panelo said in a statement.
“We therefore challenge Mr. Sison, as well as his forces on the ground, if they truly believe in him, to walk the talk and support the President’s call for conciliation towards the nation’s quest for just, sustainable and enduring peace in our motherland,” he added.
Panelo clarified that Duterte’s offer to the NPA of dwelling and employment, if and when their members lay down their arms, was “a mere reiteration of his proposal to the rebel group to take a new tack in its advocacy.”
“The President is not being less hostile, nor hostile for that matter, in his pronouncement during the inauguration of the Gaisano Grand Citygate Mall last October 19,” Panelo said.
“We should not construe the President’s aspiration for peace as a form of bribery,” he said.
The President, Panelo added, acknowledged “that there were those bright and youthful leaders” who could have served the country and “improved their respective careers if only their lives were not cut short from the skirmishes emanating from this armed struggle.”
“We take note of families of soldiers and rebels who still grieve for the loss of their loved ones up to this day,” he said.
“This armed conflict cannot go on for another 50 years, and in the mind of PRRD [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte], the same must end; and the sooner it ends, the better it is for our country,” Panelo added.
He noted that the “communist cause” has not been accepted by the majority of the people with the decrease of those who support their ideology, adding that the various attempts of the current and previous administrations for reconciliation “only inspired these communists to issue more preposterous demands from the government.”
Panelo said the “government cannot sit with their [communists] leaders in the same negotiating table while the latter’s armed comrades are fraudulently committing criminal acts and bringing harm to our people.”
“These include the ambushing of our armed forces and innocent civilians while enforcing their so-called revolutionary taxes and destroying the properties of individuals or entities who refuse to give in to their orders,” he added. /atm
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