Palace says talks with Reds still off

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2018 10:51 PM | Updated as of Sep 20 2018 04:29 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Friday said peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines are still off despite the visit of Norwegian Special Envoy to the peace process Idun Tvedt.

Tvedt paid a courtesy call on Duterte on Thursday. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement that the president told the envoy that the Philippines “remains committed to peace.”

In an interview with reporters, however, Roque said this did not mean that the talks between the government and the communist rebels, which were terminated in November last year, will be revived.

“No, the President just said that he is committed to peace. Ang in-explain naman po ni Presidente na talagang parang wala ng kinabukasan ngayon ang peace talks dahil nga po walang sinseridad ang CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army) pagdating sa usaping kapayapaan,” Roque said.

“Ngayon po wala muna kasi nga po hindi naman titigil ang putukan. Nakikipag-usap ng [tigil] putukan, tina-target pa rin ang mga kasundaluhang mga Pilipino. So sa ngayon po ay bakit pa po makikipag-usap ng kapayapaan kung ayaw naman magkaroon ng kapayapaan ang CPP-NPA. Ngayon po tuloy po ang labanan.”

Duterte in November last year terminated peace talks with the National Democratic Front amid the NPA’s attacks against government troops despite the ongoing peace talks.

He then labelled the CPP-NPA as a terror organization. In yet another controversial remark, he told state troops to shoot female rebels in their privates and also offered a P25,000 bounty for every rebel killed.