Until Rody says so; there will be no talks with the Reds

presidential spokesperson

MANILA, Philippines -   Even after CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison pushed both parties to return to the negotiating table, MalacaƱang remains non-committal on the appeal in resuming peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Unless President Duterte changes his mind on the termination of peace talks, presidential advisers and Cabinet members would have to respect Duterte’s decision, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said yesterday.

The President said the leftist group went overboard when the New People’s Army launched attacks against soldiers in the countryside. It’s one of the reasons why President Duterte decided to terminate the peace talks a week after that incident.

Duterte said that unless he sees a compelling reason to do so, there wont be a peace pact that would be reached in his term. He terminated the peace talks after lifting a unilateral ceasefire.

“There is no formal statement coming from President Duterte. But all I can say is, I’m sure the President is a listening president and he will continue to consider the advice of his secretaries and his peace advisers,” Abella added.

Abella said the Palace would assess developments in the next few days.

The military urged the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the CPP to make sure that they are in full control of their men in case the government decides to the negotiating table.

“We said that there seems to be a disconnect between the leadership above and those who are on the ground below,” adding that the disconnect should be internally addressed among the NDFP, CPP and NPA, Abella said.

“(As to) the other conditionalities, we need confidence building measures. The NPA should show that they are really sincere if they are really interested in the continuation of the peace talks,” he added.

Urge to continue talks demanded

Following the collapse of the negotiations, senators and the youth urged the Duterte government and the NDFP-CPP-NPA to continue the peace process.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s ally, urged the NDFP-CPP-NPA leadership to mutually seek a peaceful revolution because it is under the Duterte administration that a meaningful change and reform would have the best chance of happening.

“The CPP-NDF group should understand and give more since the administration has met them more than halfway already,” Cayetano said.

He stated the administration’s attempts to institute reforms to fix the country’s poverty and inequality, the dialogues with the left and the opening up of Cabinet positions and all lines of communication.

Cayetano also said he supports the need for Duterte to take a firm position on the issue, but said it is not too late for the Government and the leftist to return to the negotiating table.

“Quoting former Israeli president Shimon Peres, in peace negotiations, if you give too much, you lose your base. If you give too little, you lose the other side. Thus, there has to be pressure from all of us Filipinos to get these two sides to give more and accept less,” he said.

“From the communists’ side, they think we are giving too little. But on the side of the government, we feel we have already given them so much. But no other President has given this much this soon,” he added.

Source: Christina Mendez (http://www.philstar.com)