Malacañang on Tuesday said peace talks with communist rebels may resume if they stop all hostilities.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Panelo said the Duterte administration is open to resuming the peace negotiations but the group should proceed with utmost goodwill.
“They should cease hostilities. They should stop their illegal activities,” Panelo said,a adding that the resumptions of peace talks will largely depend on the goodwill shown by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
“But I am also confident that eventually they’ll go back to the negotiating table. After all, the left, they’re saying what they’re doing is for the people then there’s no reason for them to back out or not to continue with the peace talks,” he added.
Communist rebels earlier ended a unilateral ceasefire declared in August last year, saying the government failed to release hundreds of detained rebels.
This prompted President Duterte to cancel the peace talks.
The government also revoked the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the government and the communists.
With the termination of JASIG, communist leaders can now be arrested, Panelo said.
The communists had rejected the termination of peace talks and said they are willing to explore ways to reopen the negotiations.
CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison has asked Duterte to address the discord between the communist rebels and the government and eventually resume peace talks.
“I propose [that Duterte]consult thoroughly with his negotiating panel and the peace advocates in his own Cabinet and others outside of his government, and encourage and allow back-channeling efforts to clarify misunderstandings and solve immediately the current problems,” Sison said.
“[The CPP wishes] to pursue with the government the bright prospects that started with the first round of formal talks in August 2016 and overcome the peace spoilers that run counter to the progress that has been achieved in the third round of formal talks,” he added.