MANILA - Crossing party lines, some 60 congressmen on Sunday signed a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to resume peace negotiations between the government and communist rebels.
Since taking office in 2016, Duterte freed some communist leaders and put leftists in his cabinet, to show his commitment to finding a permanent solution to a 5-decade conflict. But he abandoned the process in November, after what he called repeated attacks by the rebels during talks.
"Continuing the peace talks would benefit the Filipino people most of whom are poor peasants and workers, as the agreements on agrarian reform and national industrialization may address their issues and concerns and help provide for their economic hardships," congressmen said in House Resolution 1803.
Duterte in December declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army, as terrorist organizations.
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.
The President, however, said last month he would first consult the country’s top military officials on whether or not the Philippine government should resume peace talks with communist rebels.