MANILA MalacaAang on Tuesday said the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing New People's Army (NPA) should listen to President Rodrigo Duterte's call to stop their illegal activities.
"The CPP-NPA, at this time, and for a change, should listen to the President. Enough of these ambuscades, enough of these extortion activities and we will sit down," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
Panelo expressed optimism that the communist rebel group will eventually heed the President's call.
"Most likely they may finally listen to the urgings of the President. I think they're also tired fighting the government," he said.
Panelo said it would be "useless" to continue the peace talks with the communist rebels if they continue to commit criminal acts.
"Eh bat pa kayo nagpi-peace talks yun pala pinapatay mo mga kalaban mo (What would be the point of having peace talks if you continue killing your enemy) and you're still doing illegal acts?" he said.
He said there seems to be a "disparity" between the ideas of CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison and the acts of NPA fighters on the ground.
"Parang di siya [Sison] sinusunod eh kasi otherwise, kung sumusunod yung ground forces sa kanya, gusto niyang makipag-usap, dapat sumunod din sila sa mga conditions (It seems like fighters on the ground do not follow Sison because otherwise, if ground forces follow him and he wants to talk, then they should follow the conditions)," he said.
Panelo emphasized that Duterte, a former mayor of Davao City, has been open to peace negotiations ever since.
He has been open to that ever since. The only condition is to stop doing these ambuscades and extortion activities because he doesn't want Filipinos killing each other that has been his line and policy ever since, even when he was still a mayor, he said.
Meanwhile, Panelo neither confirmed nor denied reports that Duterte has ordered former Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) head Avelino 'Billy' Andal to lead the backdoor talks with Sison.
I do not think so. He (Andal) is not involved in the negotiation process. Members of the panel would be (Labor) Secretary (Silvestre) Bello, he's one of them, Panelo explained.
The communist rebels have been allegedly involved in cases of extortion, killings, and violation of indigenous people's rights.
Both the US State Department and the European Union have tagged the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency