Waste of money, Duterte says on talks with Reds


President Rodrigo Duterte is still not keen on resuming talks with the communists, saying it would just be a waste of money.

“Gastos lang yan. Wala talagang mangyari niyan (That’s a waste of money. Nothing will happen),” the President said, when asked if he would still send Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza and chief government negotiator Silvestre Bello 3rd to Norway.

Duterte accused the communist group, which wants the release of all rebels held in prison, of being “impatient” in the peace negotiations, in an interview over state-run People’s Television Network on Friday.

“You know, when you come to a negotiation and you bring along a dream, sometimes, it’s really impossible,” he said.

Norway is the third party facilitator between the Philippine government National Democratic Front (NDF), the negotiating arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

About two weeks ago, the President had said he was open to resuming peace talks with the NDF, but only if communist rebels lay down their arms.

The fifth round of peace talks with the rebels was suspended on May 27, when the government panel withdrew from the negotiating table after the CPP ordered its armed wing, the New People’s Army, to intensify attacks against security forces.

There has been, however, no formal termination of the talks, Dureza said earlier this month.

Duterte had warned that he might declare nationwide martial law if the communist threat grew.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana later clarified that it was “very remote” as communist forces in the country have significantly weakened.

The collapse of the peace talks and the Commission on Appointments’ rejection of left-leaning Cabinet members Judy Taguiwalo and Rafael Mariano prompted the leftist Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives to bolt the chamber’s super majority earlier this month.


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