Duterte: Peace with NPAs may come ‘much earlier’
Peace may come earlier than you think, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday, referring to peace talks with communist rebels that have been terminated some two years back.
“With the rate that the (New People’s Army, or NPA) are surrendering, I think we’d be able to realize peace much earlier,” he said during the oath-taking of government officials on Thursday night.
“But the most important thing is to come up and comply with the promise to the rebels,” Mr. Duterte added.
The President was referring to his promise of housing and livelihood assistance to the communist rebels, an offer he has repeatedly made in the past to convince them to surrender.While discussing housing benefits for soldiers in Mindanao, Mr. Duterte recalled how he had asked the soldiers to give way and let the rebels have the housing units initially constructed for the military.
“In Davao, I have 1,000 (units) ready … That’s why I told my soldiers, just let it go. Leave those houses and just give (them) to the NPA,” the President said.
Mr. Duterte has also renewed his invitation to exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison to return to the country for a one-on-one talk before resuming the peace negotiations.The government had previously terminated the peace talks because of the communist rebels’ alleged insincerity and continued attacks on government troops and facilities.
Sison and other rebel leaders cited several conditions for the peace talks that the government has yet to meet, including the release of political prisoners.
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