By Genalyn Kabiling
The government will continue with the war with communist rebels if they are no longer interested in holding peace talks, President Duterte declared Thursday.
The President said although he remains committed to peace, he has “no problem” with communist rebel Jose Maria Sison’s reported refusal to negotiate with his administration.
“Trabahante ako ng gobyerno [I am a government worker] My main task is just to seek, to find the peace for my country. If they are not willing to talk to me, that’s fine. Wala akong problema [I have no problem] so we continue with the war,” Duterte said during a press conference in Panglao, Bohol.
“Anyway, we have been there for 50 years, ano ba naman dagdagan natin ng 30 years so sige basta alam ng Pilipino na ganun ang nangyayari [what’s 30 more years of fighting. So fine, as long as the Filipinos know what’s happening],” he added.
Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), earlier announced they would no longer negotiate with the government headed by Duterte. tHe claimed that they would rather work for Duterte’s ouster and prepare for peace talks with the next administration.
Reacting to Sison’s statement, Duterte commented: “Eh di mas mabuti [It’s much better.]”
The President, however, has not totally given up on the peace process with the communists. He said he still prefers the peace talks to be held in the country instead of abroad as proposed by the rebels.
“Kung gusto mo mag-usap, pumunta ka dito. Kung ayaw, di wag [If you want to talk, come here. If not, so don’t],” he said.
“Bakit ako pupunta sa ibang lugar, na gusto mong agawin yung gobyerno ko? Why doesn’t he take the chance of coming over baka ibigay ko pa ang gobyerno sa kanya on a silver platter [Why would I go to another place if you want to seize my government?],” he added.
But he belittled Sison’s plan to join ouster moves against him, wondering which force would like to align with him.