Palace hails Congress call to resume talks with Reds

MANILA Malacanang on Tuesday thanked members of Congress for urging President Rodrigo R. Duterte to resume peace negotiations with communist rebels.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this comment after 61 lawmakers from the House of Representatives filed House Resolution No. 1803 urging Duterte to continue the peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

We thank those who signed the resolution for their support to the peace agenda of the administration, Roque said in a press statement.

Roque said right from the start of the President's term in 2016, Duterte has shown his commitment to peace as he started formal peace talks with communist groups.

However, we find it unfortunate that the communists have become spoilers of peace because of their penchant for double talk and treachery. Their motives are not for attaining sustainable peace but rather to push for their greater control and influence, Roque explained.

Duterte cancelled peace talks in November last year due to continued attacks of the NPA rebels on government forces and their supposed harassment on innocent civilians despite ongoing talks.

Roque reiterated the government's position that an enabling environment must be present for peace talks to resume.

He said the CPP-NPA-NDF must show genuine sincerity by stopping their hostilities against innocent civilians and government forces.

Roque said the communist rebels must also end their extortion activities, violent streaks and wanton killings; lay down their arms, return to the fold of the law and restart to live normal lives.

Even without the peace talks, the government's efforts at forging peace with communist rebels have been gaining ground, as evidence by the surrender of NPA fighters, Roque said.

For the last two months, Duterte hosted three dinners for a total of 640 rebel returnees inside Malacanang Palace.

Duterte has even promised former rebels of financial assistance, education, livelihood training and integration to the Armed Forces.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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