The Norwegian government has reiterated its continued support for the peace negotiations between the Philippines and the communist rebels even after President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the talks, Malacañang said on Friday.
The commitment was made during Duterte’s meeting with the Norwegian special envoy to the peace process between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), Idun Tvedt, in Davao City on Thursday night.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte and Tvedt had a “warm and open” dialogue on issues concerning the government’s peace talks with the communist group.
During the meeting, Roque said Duterte expressed commitment to pursue long-lasting peace that would benefit the Filipino people.
“The Special Envoy reiterated the commitment of the Norwegian government to assist the Philippines in its peace process with the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines), NPA (New People’s Army), and NDF,” Roque said.
“The President welcomed Norway’s expression of commitment and stressed that the goal of peace must be achieved with due regard for the national interest of the Philippines. The President said the Philippines is committed to peace,” he added.
Tvedt’s courtesy call on Duterte came amid the President’s decision to scrap the peace talks with the communists and declare members of the CPP and NPA terrorists.
Duterte has offered a nearly $500 bounty for each communist rebel killed by government forces to save on anti-insurgency costs.
“You kill an NPA today and I’ll pay you P25,000,” Duterte said in a speech at an air base in central Cebu City, referring to NPA guerrillas.
Since 2001, Norway has served as a facilitator of the peace process between the Philippine government and the NDF.