MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he is “no longer ready” to talk peace with communist rebels, his latest pronouncement in his series of flip-flops about the peace talks.
He said communist rebels should instead just drop their guns and discuss returning to the fold of the law.
“Rebels should drop the gun and we will talk. And itong komunista, I'm no longer ready to talk to you. I've done it before. Magmukha lang tayong g***. You insult me, I insult you. Para tayong bata,” Duterte said in a speech during the awarding ceremonies of the Presidential Award for Child-friendly Municipalities and Cities in Malacañang.
Duterte's statement comes after he recently threatened to create his own “death squad” that will go after the liquidation units of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
This was also after Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison said in a Facebook post that only Duterte and government forces were to blame for the failure of the talks.
“Within the first half of the six-year Duterte term, it was possible not only to have a permanent ceasefire but even a just and lasting peace based on social, economic and political reforms,” Sison said.
“But Duterte and his armed minions have only themselves to blame for the repeated terminations of peace negotiations that Duterte declared and for making preconditions such as the surrender of the NPA; the laying aside of the people’s demand for social, economic and political reforms; and the self-destruction of the revolutionary movement.”
Despite his gripes against Duterte, Sison said that communist rebels remain open to a holiday truce even if Duterte’s security advisers seemed to be against it.
Peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines broke down last year due to alleged continuing rebel attacks on state troops.