MANILA President Rodrigo Duterte's proposal to talk peace with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits will not weaken the government's no-negotiation policy with terrorist groups.
This was emphasized by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stressing that the policy refers to ransom payments with terrorists.
"Hindi naman. (Not really). The government no-nego(tiation) stance is with terrorists who want to exchange their hostages with ransom money," he added in a message to reporters Sunday.
Lorenzana added the Duterte administration does not facilitate the release of money to recover hostages.
The DND chief earlier expressed support for Duterte's plans to talk peace with the ASG terrorists, especially those who have not committed capital offenses.
"Yes, I do. If we have peace talks with the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) why not the ASG? Especially those who have not committed capital offenses," he added.
However, Lorenzana clarified that those who have brutally killed civilian and military hostages must be held liable for their atrocities.
"Those that decapitated hostages will have to answer for their crimes," the DND chief added.
Duterte has renewed his call to dialogue with ASG on Friday, a day after signing the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
Abu Sayyaf, mag-usap na lang tayo (let's talk), the Chief Executive said in a speech during his visit to fire victims in Jolo, Sulu.
Ano bang gawain natin? Magpatayan tayong lahat? Ako, pwede niyo akong patayin maski saan. Anong makukuha ninyo? (What are we going to do? Kill each other? You can kill me anywhere. But what will you gain)? he said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency