MANILAPresident Rodrigo Duterte's offer to give the New People's Army (NPA) house and employment if they surrender to government should not be construed as a form of bribery, MalacaAang said on Sunday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte is not being less hostile, nor hostile for that matter in his pronouncement during last Friday's inauguration of the Gaisano Grand Citygate Mall in Davao City.
We should not construe the President's aspiration for peace as a form of bribery, Panelo said in a press statement.
The President's offer to the New People's Army (NPA) for dwelling and employment, if and when their members lay down their arms, is a mere reiteration of his proposal to the rebel group to take a new tack in its advocacy, he clarified.
In a statement, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison said Duterte is either trying to sound less hostile to the communists by trying to bribe the NPA rebels to surrender.
Panelo said the 50-year armed conflict between government and NPA, one of the longest insurgencies in the world, has resulted in a series of sorrowful tragedies, involving Filipinos killing fellow Filipinos.
The President acknowledges that there were those bright and youthful leaders who could have served this nation and improved their respective careers if only their lives were not cut short from the skirmishes emanating from this armed struggle. We take note of families of soldiers and rebels who still grieve for the loss of their loved ones up to this day, Panelo said.
This armed conflict cannot go on for another fifty years, and in the mind of PRRD, the same must end; and the sooner it ends, the better it is for our country, he added.
On Sison's statement that the National Democratic Front is ready to negotiate with the government, Panelo said the communists must first demonstrate genuine sincerity before the resumption of the talks.
The government cannot sit with their leaders in the same negotiating table while the latter's armed comrades are fraudulently committing criminal acts and bringing harm to our people. These include the ambushing of our armed forces and innocent civilians while enforcing their so-called revolutionary taxes and destroying the properties of individuals or entities who refuse to give in to their orders, Panelo explained.
He said the government has been dismayed in numerous occasions over the NPA's opportunistic attacks amid the ongoing peace talks.
We therefore challenge Mr. Sison, as well as his forces on the ground, if they truly believe in him, to walk the talk and support the President's call for conciliation towards the nation's quest for just, sustainable and enduring peace in our motherland, Panelo said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency