Duterte has ‘small window’ for peace talk with communist rebels — Panelo
MANILA, Philippines — With reservations, President Rodrigo Duterte has a “small window” for peace talks with communist rebels, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Sunday.
Panelo made the statement after exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison on Sunday advised Duterte to resume peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to “escape the wrath of hell.”
Sison was responding to Duterte’s statement that he would be “happy” to be in hell with the exiled founder.
Asked if the government is still open for peace talks with the communist group, Panelo said Duterte is still open for negotiations if the communist group is “honest with their intentions.”
“Sinasabi naman niya (Duterte) palagi na mayroon siyang small window for peace talks provided na yung nasa kabilang lamesa ay tapat sa kanilang layunin,” Panelo said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer.
“Hindi ‘yung nagne-negotiate tapos ang dami nilang ina-assault, ina-ambush, sinusunog, pinapatay. Hindi naman po pwede ‘yun,” he added.
While Panelo said the President is open for negotiations, he also questioned Sison’s honesty and the exiled founder’s authority over the communist group.
“Ang problema, matapat ba siya at pinapakinggan ba siya ng mga tao niya? Ang problema baka hindi na siya pinapakinggan,” Panelo said.
The NDFP serves as the umbrella group of all communist-led underground organizations in the country.
In March, Duterte ended the government’s peace negotiations with the NDFP.
“I am no longer entertaining any interventions or persuasions in this democratic state of the Republic of the Philippines,” Duterte said.
READ: BREAKING: Duterte shuts door on peace talks: Talk to the next President
Another attempt for a peace negotiation was launched in April through the creation of a five-member government peace panel, however, this was rejected by the communist groups. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.