MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte is once again open to the resumption of the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF).
The President said this in an interview at the Camp Edilberto Evangelista Chapel when he visited Friday the wake of two soldiers who were killed in action in an encounter with NPA rebels on Feb. 27 and 28 in Misamis Oriental province.
President Duterte said that in pursuit of peace, he is willing to talk once more with the NPAs.
“I’m open to talk to the rebels, just not the killers. I’m ready to talk and I’m ready to stop this war. I would prefer for us to not have war, but we need to talk from the heart,” he said.
The President also said that communication and good intention are vital steps towards peace.
“I’m ready so long as we communicate well. I’m ready to resume the ceasefire again, but this time I want it to be sincere. Back then, there was a ceasefire but my soldiers were killed. I’m ready to resume the ceasefire again so long as it is working towards peace,” he said.
When asked, President Duterte said his plans for peace negotiations with the NPA would include three requests from the rebel group — the release of hostages, the halt to revolutionary taxes, as well as asking of favors.
“They have to release all policemen, army, everyone from the government. They should release them all. Second, they should stop asking for revolutionary tax. Third, they should stop asking for things. They’re burning a lot of things now and we’ll never meet each other half way if that’s the case,” he said.
President Duterte said he feels very deeply about the turmoil.
“It pains me to see Filipinos fighting against fellow Filipinos. I just want peace.”
He also said that no one wins in a war. “For me, no one will win. If we Filipinos fight against fellow Filipinos, nobody wins. The nation, the Philippines loses.”