MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday thanked lawmakers who urged President Rodrigo Duterte to resume peace talks with the communist movement but said negotiations could only resume when the rebels stop "violent streaks and wanton killings."
"We thank those who signed the resolution for their support to the peace agenda of the administration," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
"[But] [t]hey (communist rebels) must cease their hostilities against innocent civilians and government forces, end their extortion activities, violent streaks and wanton killings, lay down their arms and return to the fold of law and restart to live normal lives," he added.
Roque said the executive branch "will exhaust any and all means to achieve lasting peace towards unity and progress" but that "there must be an enabling environment" before the government returns to the negotiating table.
In November 2017, Duterte signed a proclamation to formally cancel peace negotiations as communist rebels continued to attack uniformed personnel and civilians in rural areas despite ongoing talks.
"The President’s position has always been clear and consistent: He remains committed to peace. We find it unfortunate that the communists have become spoilers of peace because of their penchant for double talk and treachery," Roque said.