Duterte to Reds: Comply with my terms for peace talks to resume
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said the peace talks between the government and the communist rebels would not resume without his conditions being followed.
In a speech during the rally of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Cauyan City, Isabela, Duterte reiterated the conditions he had set for the revival of the talks.
“NPA, if you want to have peace during my term, drop the arms, stop extortion,” he said, referring to the New People’s Army.
He also told the communist rebels to stop collecting revolutionary taxes.
He said the government would willing to spend for the resumption of the talks, which collapsed after he signed Proclamation No. 360 in November 2017.
“Drop the arms, stop the fighting, stop the extortion, and I will just — I will answer for your billeting wherever you want,” he said.
“Bumaba kayo dito. Doon kayo sa mga hotel. Iyong five-star na hotel okay. Pero ’yung pagkain nila isang ulam lang ha. Pobre tayo diyan,” he added.
[Come down here. You can stay in a hotel. Even a five-star hotel. But limit their viand to only one. We’re poor.”
“If you can comply,” he said, he would ready to shoulder the expenses of the communists who would join the talks.
“Fifty-years of fighting and do you want another 52 years to fight for nothing?” he added.
The President said the communist rebels could not limit him in setting his conditions for the talks to resume.
“Ako ’yung may hawak ng gobyerno, bigyan mo ako ng limitasyon? Hindi man pwede ’yang ganun,” he said.
[I’m the one handling the government, and you will give me limitations? That cannot happen.]
Duterte has issued flip-flopping statements on the resumption of the peace talks. He had earlier said he would just want localized peace talks but later on said the government was not yet closing its door on the resumption of talks. /atm
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