PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his commitment to achieve peace in Mindanao under his term despite the communist rebels’ continued attacks in the region.
“Sad to say, despite our efforts, peace especially in the island of Mindanao, continue to elude us. But of course, it is not the peace of the dead but the peace of the living that we seek,” Duterte said in his speech during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“I hope that peace continues. The Reds insurgency has been there for decades… So much time has lapsed, so many lives have been lost and so much destruction has been brought. But peace eludes us still. Sometimes, I’m almost tempted to conclude that peace might not be able to come during our lifetime. But believe me, it will not be for one…,” he added.
Duterte issued the statement despite his decision to abandon peace negotiations with the communist rebels, after its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), staged offensives against security forces in the southern Philippines.
In his first SONA in 2016, Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the communist group.