By Argyll Geducos
Malacañang said that President Duterte has not totally closed his doors to talking peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after the President said over the weekend that he might create a five-member panel that will negotiate for peace with the Communist rebels.
In his Monday press briefing, Panelo said that Duterte has always given peace a chance.
“If you notice, the President has made himself open to any talks on peace. Ever since sinasabi niya yun (that’s what he has been saying),” Panelo said.
“‘Di ba sinasabi niya bigyan natin ng konting window. Palaging yun ang sinasabi niya (He always said to give it a window, right? That’s what he has always said),” he added.
Duterte’s recent remark about the peace talks came weeks after he dissolved the government peace panel led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and told rebels to just talk with the next administration.
Over the weekend, Duterte said that he still did not want to talk to the Communist rebels. However, he said that if they wanted to talk, he will send someone else.
“I will look for another way and new people to talk to. Maybe one, two, or three from the military, and… two civilians,” he said in Visayan.
However on Monday, Panelo said that the new peace panel was still just an idea that the President raised. He also said that this will not have any effect on the localized peace talks that the government has opted to pursue.
“Tuloy pa rin naman yun. Hindi naman magbabago yun (That will still happen. Nothing will change),” he said.
“Wala pa naman, eh. Sinabi niya pa lang yun. Wala pa siyang kini-create (The President just said it. He has not created anything yet). It’s still an idea,” he added.
Panelo has also opted to ignore the new comments made by CPP founder Joma Sison that what President Duterte will be creating would be a war panel since the government feels Sison has lost power over his men.
“What does it matter if he likes it or not?” Panelo said.
“Ang feeling namin hindi siya pinapakinggan (We feel that they are not listening to him). By the way the ground forces are doing their thing, it appears to be that way,” he added.
Duterte scrapped the peace talks with the Reds late 2017, citing the rebels’ insincerity in the peace negotiations