MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte admitted on Monday that the road to peace is always a rocky road but still hoping his administration could talk again with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
”There is no negotiation that comes easy to us especially given the turmoil of our country. We are hoping that we could just talk, maybe we did not understand each other,” the President said during the mass oath-taking of his appointees in Malacanang.
President Duterte has lifted the unilateral ceasefire he declared with the communist rebels after the CPP-NPA-NDF did not reciprocate before the 5 p.m. ultimatum last Saturday.
”The best way is really is to talk again and find out whether it is reachable or beyond our reach,” President Duterte said.
”I hope that we can proceed with the talks the Communist Party of the Philippines and I’ll be spending about 10 days after tomorrow,” he added.
The President said he will also address the problem in Mindanao, particularly the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
President Duterte clarified that he will not talk with the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group.
”I will not deal with criminals. I will not deal with persons of extreme brutality. There is no redeeming factor or reason for me to sit down and talk with criminals. Pareho lang rin ýan sa droga. They’re out to just derail the life of a nation,” President Duterte said.
He said the Abu Sayyaf bandits have no ideology unlike the CPP-NPA-NDF and the MILF and MNLF.
The President said he give everybody a safe conduct pass once the peace talks start with the communist and the Moro rebels.
”My desire is just to see my nation at peace and for everybody in this generation before I make my exit that we will leave in peace and leave a country that is prosperous for the next generation,” he added.
President Duterte refused to react on the criticisms of communist leader Jose Maria Sison that the President was hasty to lift the ceasefire.
”Hindi ko papatulan iyan eh. I am not an ideological poltergeist. I am the President talking properly to you to have peace in this land. Bakit man ako — hindi naman ako insecure,” the President said.
The President said his administration will pursue the peace talks with the communist rebels set on August 20 to 27 in Oslo, Norway.
”I cannot stop talking about peace. I am a President who is supposed to bring peace to his land. Whether it’s really Sison or not, whether I’d like to talk to Sison or not, it’s not important, it’s not relevant at all. The issue is, the left, not only Sison, but that includes Sison, the left, the entire leftist community or bloc dito sa atin. We cannot agree on all of these things. Merong right, left, center,” President said.
”Me, at this time, I just believe that I have to look for that peace for my land during my generation. If I fail, mahirap na, including Mindanao,” he added.