President Rodrigo Duterte has assured Norway’s special envoy for the talks that his administration remains committed to peace, days after offering a reward for killing rebels.
During the president’s metting with Idun Tvedt, Norwegian special envoy to the peace process between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), Duterte has made the commitment.
According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Tvedt reiterated the commitment of the Norwegian government to assist the Philippines in its peace process with the communist rebels. Norway served as third party facilitator of the peace talks.
“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,” Roque said.
“The President stressed that the Philippines is committed to peace,” he added.
Meanwhile presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that Duterte was serious about his reward offer to those who would kill rebels.
“If the President says he will give PhP 25,000 to lumads (indigenous peoples) who will kill NPA (New People’ Army) members during encounters, he is not joking,” said Andanar.
“Insurgency has been a huge problem of our country and we saw how (communist leader Jose Maria) Sison announced that a soldier would be killed every day. The President will now allow this,” he added.
The President’s decision to terminate the talks is because of the communists’ pushing for a collation government, a setup that is not allowed by the Constitution, because it would force him to “share” the Philippines’ sovereignty.