Gov’t optimistic Reds will return to negotiating table

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2019 02:23 PM

MANILA - The government is optimistic that communist rebels will be open to restart peace negotiations as President Rodrigo Duterte hinted at its possible resumption.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Duterte administration remains hopeful that Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison would “seriously reconsider” the government’s proposal.

President Duterte on Thursday said he is sending former chief government negotiator Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to talk to Sison, noting that the move is his “last card.”

“We are looking for a peaceful option to end this conflict as these 5 decades of armed struggle and resistance by the Communist Party against the Philippine government must eventually come to an end,” Andanar said.

“We hope in good faith that Mr. José María Sison will seriously reconsider the government’s proposal that will be presented by Secretary Bello,” he added.

Duterte on Thursday emphasized the need to keep channels of communication with rebels open, saying "the quest for longing for peace has always been there."

Earlier this year, the President formally terminated peace talks with the rebels, saying he would no longer entertain any "persuasions" from the communists.