Follow me and I’ll help you become mayors, Duterte tells communists » Manila Bulletin News

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Follow me and I’ll help you become mayors, Duterte tells communists

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By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has offered to help communist rebels become future mayors if they abandon the armed struggle and follow him instead.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) campaign rally at the Bacolod City Government Center Football Field in Negros Occidental on April 11, 2019. (SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte 
(SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President said the rebel returnees could establish their own political party that will participate in the next elections.

Duterte issued the statement after renewing his administration’s offer to resume peace talks with the communist rebel group if they agree to a ceasefire, stop the extortion, among others.

“Let’s just talk instead. Why wait for (Jose Maria) Sison to come? He will never go home anyway. Follow me instead and I could make you mayors. That’s true,” Duterte said in the Visayan dialect during the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Agusan del Norte Sunday night.

“In the next elections, it will be called the Kapisanan ng mga Pilipinong Komunista. You can make it a political party. Make it legal. Communist Party of the Philippines,” he added.

Duterte admitted that he was angry with the communist rebels for the attacks committed against government troops.

But he expressed willingness to talk with those who are sincere in wanting peace. He recognized that the communist struggle was about “a fight for your principle, not necessarily an issue of pocket.”

“I was angry at you fools. You kept on killing my police and soldiers. You won’t stop killing them. Let’s just talk instead,” he added.

After terminating the peace talks with the communists, the President has apparently changed his mind and expressed openness to resume the negotiations with the rebel group.

Duterte, during the administration party’s campaign rally in Cagayan province last week, even urged Sison to come home for the negotiations. The President, however, has asked the communist rebel group to agree to an “immediate ceasefire” and stop extortion activities before any peace talks can resume.

Earlier, the President announced plans to create a five-member peace panel composed of representatives from the military and civilian sectors.

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