MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said that the government is again engaged in dialogues with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) but stressed that parameters for a ceasefire would be clearly set.
In his speech before the 1st general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), the President said that back channel talks have been revived despite sporadic clashes between government forces and communists rebels.
“We are talking to the communists, I’m still biding my time. There’s a back channeling. I’m not supposed to talk about it because it’s back channeling. But I have certain conditions or demands that we have to agree upon,” Duterte said.
However, he said that parameters for a ceasefire should be clearly set in a document that would bind both parties.
“I want a ceasefire that is reduced in writing and the parameters clearly shown where we are going and what should be done in case of failure,” the President said.
“We have to play fair for everything, but it is still a little vague until now. I cannot expound on it further. But we have some must-do in order to achieve peace,” Duterte said.
The President made the statement a day after the government panel led by Secretary Jesus Dureza and NDF leaders agreed to resume negotiations by the first week of April.
Negotiations were stalled after both sides lifted their respective unilateral ceasefires in early February, with the NPA making the first move.
Last week, Duterte ordered government forces to use all its assets in an all-out war against the rebels following the ambush-killing of four policemen by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members in Bansalan, Davao del Sur.
On Monday, Dureza announced that the government is expected to meet with the communist panel in April after successful back channel talks held last March 10 and 11.