By Genalyn Kabiling
Peace negotiations between the government and the communist rebels might resume this July, President Duterte said Thursday after deferring the proposed talks this month pending public consultation.
The President admitted that he was not ready for the June peace talks proposed by communist leader Jose Maria Sison, and asked for more time to prepare.
“I’m talking to Sison. Sabi niya June. No, I’m not ready for that. Eh kailangan ko pa ng konting panahon [He said June. No, I’m not ready for that. I need some more time],” the President said during the oath taking of newly elected Region 4A barangay captains in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
“‘Yung kay Sison maybe July [With Sison, maybe this July]. I have invited them for 60 days lang,” he added.
Duterte said he was aware the military and police were hurt with his plans to “make peace with the enemies of the state” but stressed that peace talks were part of his campaign promises.
“I am not a policeman. I am not a military man. I am a worker of government who promised you that I will do everything baka sakali we can attain a peaceful Philippines. That’s the long and short of it,” he said
“One of my commitments is that I will talk to the enemies of the state, talk about peace, and maybe in the fullness of God’s time, we will realize our dream for a troubled Philippines,” he added.
The President’s remarks came shortly after Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza announced the government was resetting the planned revival of the peace talks with the communists.
Dureza, in a Palace press briefing, said the President decided to “reset” the peace talks with the communists and ordered the panel to conduct public consultations about the peace initiative.
“Our peace efforts to succeed should have good support from the general public hence it is necessary that all efforts be exerted to inform and engage them in the same way as the government engages the rebels in addressing the root causes of conflict,” he said.
“Just, sustainable and lasting peace will happen only when our people understand and support these efforts,” he added.