MANILA - A negotiated settlement is not the only way to end the decades-long communist insurgency, President Rodrigo Duterte's peace adviser said Monday, after talks were suspended.
The government and rebel sides lifted the ceasefire in separate announcements last week, as negotiations hit a snag on the insurgents' demand to release their detained comrades.
Duterte also scrapped peace negotiations to end one of the world's longest-running Maoist campaigns and branded the rebels as "terrorists."
"Isa sa mga pamamaraan na magkaroon ng kapayapaan e iyung peace negotiations, 'di ba? Mahalaga iyan. Pero hindi iyun ang pinaka-only, exclusive way," presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza told radio DZMM.
(Peace negotiations is one of the ways to achieve peace. It is important, but is not the only, exclusive way.)
"There are many ways to achieve peace outside of peace negotiations like improve the lives of people, you bring justice, you address issues of injustices, you address the root causes of conflict, bring security sa mga (to the) neighborhood."
Despite his recent pronouncements, Duterte remains committed to peace, Dureza said, without elaborating on the President's options for ending the rebellion.
"If there is a person who has a passion for bringing peace in the land, si (it's) President Duterte. May mga directive siya ngayon (He has issued a directive), this is his track now to achieve that so let's see how it's going to roll out in the ground," Dureza said.
The conflict between the government and communists has raged since 1968 and killed more than 40,000 people.
Within weeks of taking office in July last year, Duterte made the peace process a priority and a prerequisite for his ultimate goal of introducing a federal system in the Philippines. -- With Reuters