Duterte to rebels: ‘Come home for Christmas’


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday urged members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to leave their arms and come down to celebrate Christmas with their families.

WHITE CARABAO President Rodrigo Duterte reviews the troops aboard a military jeep during the 81st anniversary rites of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

WHITE CARABAO President Rodrigo Duterte reviews the troops aboard a military jeep during the 81st anniversary rites of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

In his speech during the 81st anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, the President assured the rebels that they won’t be arrested when they come down from the mountains.

“Sa mga NPA or the Communist Party of the Philippines, although you did not declare any cessation of hostilities…I would like to invite everybody, leave your arms where they are ngayon [now]and you can come down sa siyudad [to the city]or wherever you live. You visit your family,” Duterte said.

“I would like you to come down and be with your family on Christmas day. I guarantee you na walang aresto, walang oppression, [I guarantee that there will be no arrest, no oppression, no everything. And if you meet a soldier of the Philippines, my soldier, shake hands. Or if you don’t want to, just don’t look at him],” he added.
Duterte said he wanted a ceasefire with all rebel groups for the holiday season.

“As agreed with some of the local religious leaders, I will honestly ask you sincerely for the ceasefire beginning December 23 up to 27, then in the New Year, in the 31st, up to January 2, 3,” he said.

He said he had extended the same invitation to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

But the invitation does not apply to criminals and terrorists group such as the Abu Sayaff, he said.

“Kayong mga terrorist and kidnappers, I don’t want to deal with you. I don’t want to see you,” the President said.

Duterte, Sison agree to pursue peace talks

Duterte and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison agreed to pursue a peace agreement and continue a truce during the holidays, in a phone conversation on Tuesday, a Palace official said.

In a statement, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte and Sison had a “friendly” phone conversation on the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the communist political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Sison, in a Facebook post, said he had a “friendly and productive” phone conversation with Duterte about advancing the peace talks. The phone call happened at 2 a.m. Manila time, Tuesday.

He said the unilateral ceasefire declarations of the two parties, made in August at the beginning of peace talks in Norway, “will stand during Christmas and New Year holidays.”

Both sides initially aimed to sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement in October, but communist rebels stalled the talks to seek the release of detained communist rebels.

Sison said the bilateral ceasefire agreement and the release of prisoners could be settled when the third round of talks resumes in January 2017.

“Bilateral ceasefire agreement and the amnesty and release of the political prisoners listed by the [NDF] can be discussed and agreed upon before, during, and even after the third round of formal talks in Rome from January 18 to 24,” he said.


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  1. aladin g. villacorte on

    Talking to a wall. . ?

    The peace talks with the Left – to quote from a classic article is like “a migratory bird, a sort of movable feast as it were.” The first of many encounters happened in Holland during the early 90s, before transferring to neighboring Belguim in 1995,then moving back to the Netherlands until March 2001. That same year Norway came into the picture as Third Party Facilitator, and has since been playing host to the peace negotiations.

    Why travel to the far end of the earth – the Arctic circle – to negotiate peace in our country? Why go to Oslo to talk when Davao City, President Duterte’s home turf which is friendly territory to the Reds, would be ideal as venue? (Now we are told by Joma the third round of talks will be held in Rome in January 2017.)

    My point is not so much about the distance or the time to be spent coming and going, or even the huge expenses incurred by these globe-trotting pro-poor militants (which will be covered anyway by the gracious host), as the perception that the participants could be hiding something from the Filipino people.Would the agenda be any different from that of the past negotiations? What are the topics on the table, for instance, and what have they agreed on so far? After a series of failed peace talks under five presidents, what are the chances of achieving a lasting agreement this time around?

    Fr. Conrado Balweg, a folk hero in the Cordilleras who died at the hands of his former comrades, had given us a clue as to why any peace talk with the CPP-NDF-NPA will not prosper. “Talking peace with the Left is like talking to a wall,” he confessed in an interview. “Their agenda is politics, not peace.”

    One thing is certain: The Left will still be represented by the same old faces, with the same rhetoric.

    A question of loyalty

    I have also often wondered who is calling the shots now, who is orchestrating the whole show? – the absentee leaders, the arm-chair guerillas who are living comfortably and safely abroad? They must be kidding!

    My next point I believe has never been raised before: Luis Jalandoni has long turned his back on the Philippines by becoming a Dutch citizen. Why has no one from the government side ever questioned where his loyalty lies? He acquired Dutch citizenship by naturalization through a Royal Decree issued on November 12, 1985. I should know; I was the one who stumbled upon this piece of information and reported it posthaste to the Home Office.

    During my posting in The Hague from 1985 to 1989 our Embassy had transmitted to Manila several reports via telex and despatch on the subject of Jalandoni’s change of citizenship and his active involvement in the underground. One such report contained my comments that “as a Dutch citizen” his activities on behalf of the Left and the insurgency groups (such as propaganda work for the Left, fund-raising, etc.) and his continuing liaison with them in one form or another “may well be regarded as direct intervention in purely Philippine affairs”

    What is the Left really up to?

    Let’s face it, what gives this new round of talks more than a fighting chance of success is the fact that the leading government actor is a self-confessed leftist. President Duterte once sat at the feet of the master himself – Jose Ma.Sison – during his college days at the Lyceum of the Philippines in Intramuros. The ideological thread that connects the two is quite obvious.

    Study the current starting line-up of both teams and their coaches. The leaders of the negotiating panel – Secretary Bello III and Jalandoni – are no stranger to each other, politically speaking. And as fate would have it, like Jalandoni, President Duterte’s close confidant Eliseo Evasco, Jr. is an ex-priest and a former NPA fighter. Together with the rest of the team Mariano, Taguiwalo, Maglunsod, etal, their game plan should not be too difficult to discern.

    Consider this – without firing a single shot the leftist camp has secured almost everything they want from the government: a unilateral ceasefire, appointment of leftists in the cabinet, release from jail of the Tiamzon couple plus other members of the politburo who will serve as both negotiators and consultants, the granting of safe conduct passes, trips abroad and propaganda exposure. What Sison, Jalandoni & Company and their band of rag-tag guerrillas failed to achieve in more than forty years, they got them all in less than six months under the new administration.

    President Duterte proudly announced: “The Reds will die for me,” with resounding audacity. Seriously, if I were the leader of the government negotiating team, my first order of business is to require everyone on both sides of the table to pledge allegiance to the Philippine flag and to our Constitution.

    Ambassador Aladin G. Villacorte
    Former Assistant Secretary, DFA-UNIO, Guest Lecturer at LPU