MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected anew the possibility of resuming peace talks with communists, taking a step back from his recent statement expressing openness to the revival of negotiations.
“Gastos lang 'yan. Walang mangyari diyan,” Duterte said in a recorded interview on state-run PTV4.
About two weeks ago, the President had said he was open to resuming peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), but only if communist rebels lay down their arms.
Peace negotiations between the government and the rebels broke down earlier this year following a string of attacks against state troops allegedly committed by the New People’s Army.
There has been, however, no formal termination of the talks yet, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said earlier this month.
The President has been at loggerheads with left-leaning groups since the collapse of talks.
Duterte earlier warned that he might declare nationwide martial law if the communist threat would grow. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana later clarified that it was "very remote" as communist forces in the country have significantly weakened.
The collapse of the peace talks and the Commission on Appointments' rejection of left-leaning Cabinet members Judy Taguiwalo and Rafael Mariano prompted the leftist Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives to bolt the chamber’s super majority earlier this month.