President Rodrigo Duterte is open to dialogue with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army again a month after he cancelled the government’s unilateral ceasefire.
The president told reporters he is open to resume the peace talks because he does not not want war. However, he conditions that when both parties go back to the negotiating table they must talk from the heart.
Duterte lamented that soldiers were still getting hurt even when the ceasefire was still standing.
“I’m ready as 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,” he said.
Duterte cancelled the peace talks with the CPP/NPA after two soldiers were killed by the NPA in Bukidnon on February 4.
The president also called for the release of all the prisoners held by the NPA and for them to stop asking for revolutionary tax.
“They have to release all policemen, army, everyone from the government. They should release them all. Second, they should stop asking for revolutionary tax,” Duterte said.
Furthermore, the president said he wants war to stop because it is costing the government money — money that should have been used for providing for the Filipinos needs.
“I do not want war. It’s a waste of money. Instead of buying bullets I can buy machines and give it to help others. For me, no one will win. If we Filipinos fight against fellow Filipinos, nobody wins. The people loses, the Philippines loses,” Duterte said.