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Bong Go: Duterte still open to peace talks

LUCENA CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte remains open to the resumption of peace negotiations with communist rebels, but wants a “one-on-one” meeting with its leader, Jose Maria Sison, with the agreement signed in the Philippines, Sen. Christopher Go said on Thursday.

“Just the two of them. They are the leaders,” Go told news reporters during the groundbreaking ceremony on the construction, rehabilitation and improvement of the Lucena Fish Port Complex in Barangay Dalahican where he was guest of honor.

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“I support peace talks. I don’t want Filipinos killing each other. Who would even want to kill their own fellow Filipino?” Go said, adding that the Filipinos’ love for peace was evident during the 16-day holiday ceasefire between government forces and the New People’s Army rebels.

But Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines who has lived in exile in Utrecht, the Netherlands, since 1987, has long maintained that the peace talks won’t happen if the government insisted on resuming them in the Philippines.

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“The prospects for peace negotiations during the Duterte regime are close to nil or already nil,” Sison said in a statement on Wednesday.

Sison said Duterte’s invitation for him to return home was meant “to give up the legal protection that I enjoy as a political refugee, betray my principles and surrender myself to a butcher regime.”

“The malicious intent of the invitation is to end the prospect of resuming the peace negotiations,” he added.

Sison said the communist insurgents are now looking forward to a new administration “willing to negotiate” with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the umbrella group of the communist-led underground groups conducting on-and-off peace talks with the government since 1986.Sison said the NDFP “continues to be open to peace negotiations even with the Duterte regime.”Both sides agreed to observe a Christmas ceasefire to create a conducive atmosphere for the resumption of the peace talks.

But the 16-day truce from Dec. 23 to Jan. 7 was marred by truce violations from both sides.

Peace negotiation between the rebels and the Duterte administration started on a positive note after four rounds of negotiations to bring a peaceful end to the 50-year-old communist rebellion.

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TAGS: Bong Go, Communist Group, duterte, GRP, Joma Sison, Peace Talks
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