MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he is willing to sign a document to formally terminate peace talks with the communist National Democratic Front (NDF).
Duterte said holding talks with the communists seems futile, as both sides have apparently resorted to name-calling.
“Give me a piece of paper. I will write it for you. Give it to them,” Duterte told reporters at the sidelines of the 113th founding anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
“If there’s nothing to expect in the talks, so why (should) we continue talking? What do you intend to accomplish? It only ends up at name-calling, pati shouting. Don’t waste my time, I have so many things to do,” he added.
Talks between the government and the NDF broke down after the government blamed the New People's Army (NPA) for its continued attacks against state troops despite the ongoing peace talks.
The President has also slammed the NPA for extorting businessmen and ordinary people by collecting so-called “revolutionary taxes.”
Despite Duterte’s categorical pronouncement cancelling the talks, the government peace panel has not yet released a formal notice of its termination.
The communist movement, for its part, slammed Duterte for placing the entire Mindanao under martial law because of the terror crisis in Marawi, saying it has given state troops the license to violate human rights.