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Rody offers land to Reds

/ 02:12 AM August 26, 2016
MILITANT groups, in a rally in Quezon City in July, display a streamer expressing support for peace talks between the government and communist rebels. LYN RILLON

MILITANT groups, in a rally in Quezon City in July, display a streamer expressing support for peace talks between the government and communist rebels. LYN RILLON

DAVAO CITY—President Duterte on Wednesday offered to release funds and provide land to members of the communist New People’s Army if peace talks succeed.

“There is so much land in the Philippines, and I could (give you), just tell me and I will give them everything,” Mr. Duterte said in a late night press conference on Wednesday.

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“It takes so much money to run a war for nothing. You see, after 45 years, we can talk after all,” he said.

The President’s offer to guerrillas came minutes after he again declared a ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

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“I am joining the Communist Party of the Philippines in its desire to seek peace for this nation,” the President said at 11:35 p.m. on Wednesday.

Mr. Duterte also ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to heed the ceasefire declaration.

“So we avoid hostile actions against each other,” Mr. Duterte said. “We do not go into antagonistic behavior in front of whoever. As a matter of fact, I am encouraging people in government, the military and the police to be friendly with the forces of the revolutionary government of the Communist Party of the Philippines within the time that we have a ceasefire because of the Oslo talks,” the President said.

‘Long, long period’

Government and rebel representatives have resumed formal peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

Mr. Duterte said he hoped that the ceasefire would “go a long, long period for a peaceful resolution of the communist rebellion against the Republic of the Philippines.”

The President said his decision was “mainly based on a consensus and the concurrence of all the commanding generals of the AFP the other day,” as well as of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

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On Friday last week, Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced the government’s declaration of a ceasefire as prelude to the talks in Oslo. But the day after, Mr. Duterte said he had yet to consult the military.

The President also appealed to the police and military not to be hurt with his decision “because as President, my main task is to seek peace for my country.”

“I am not a president who would enjoy waging war against the citizens of this republic. It pains me deeply to see people dying for an ideology that we can talk about peacefully, just like now,” said the President.

“And I also wonder why we had to kill each other for 45 years only to end up, which is really a significant event for everybody, talking. And to think so many lives lost in government and the other side, when we can talk,” the President added.

Mr. Duterte said his only regret for the country was that talks should have been done a long time ago. Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Ceasefire, communist, duterte, New People’s Army, NPA, Rodrigo Duterte
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