BRINGING up anew the question of peace talks with communists during his visit to the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Catbalogan, Samar on Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte stressed the rebels must first surrender their firearms before the dialogue can resume.
“Magsabi sila kung saan sila gustong makiusap, pupuntahan ko sila. At sasabihin ko sa kanila hintuan nila ‘yang kalokohan nila. Wala na eh. Para naman magamit ko ‘yung pera sa ibang bagay — kabutihan ninyo, para sa Pilipino,” he said in speech delivered at Camp General Lukban.
“I’m spending for bullets. I’m spending for gun. And who do I kill? The Filipino. Walang kwenta. Ako naaawa rin ako sa inyo. But if you choose the way of life, bahala kayo. Pero ako hindi ako magsabi na — basta ako sabi ko ako peace lang,” he added.
It was in April this year that Duterte said he might create a new peace negotiating panel at the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Bukidnon.
A few weeks before that, he terminated the peace talks, including the appointments of government negotiators led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and told the rebels to just talk with the next administration.
On Wednesday, Duterte again broached the idea of holding a dialogue with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
“Kung kaya ninyo makipag-usap, wala akong problema. Just drop your weapon, stop fighting and we will talk. And I can give you right away one-third of what you are asking. One-third, one-third, one-third is one,” he said in front of soldiers.