Bello: Duterte rhetorics vs Reds ‘normal’
MANILA, Philippines —In the absence of a peace settlement, President Rodrigo Duterte’s continuous bad-mouthing of the communist rebels is just “normal,” the government’s chief peace negotiator said Thursday.
“The reality is that we are in a state of armed conflict. ‘Yun ang reality e wala pa naman peace e so banatan ‘yan,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said in a Palace briefing.
“So if I were the President, I would do everything to crush the rebellion, normal ‘yan. Hangga’t di nagkakaroon ng peace settlement o peace agreement, then we continue to fight them and at the very least, kundi man ma-crush totally at least ma-decimate sila,” he added.
Bello made the remarks after Duterte ordered the ordered the military to “destroy” the New People’s Army (NPA) as he refused to reciprocate the holiday ceasefire declaration of the rebels.
Asked of the possibility of the continuation of peace talks next year, Bello said “anything is possible.”
“The President’s commitment to our country is inclusive and lasting peace for our country, if it means resuming the peace negotiations, why not? He’s trying to get all the avenues for a possible peace negotiation or settlement,” Bello said, noting that “there should be a show of sincerity” on the part of the communists.
Talks between the government and the communist movement broke down last year as the administration cited the continued attacks by the NPAs against state troops despite ongoing negotiations.
The administration also suspended supposed backchannel talks citing the need for further consultation. /muf
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