President Rodrigo Duterte said he will never be ready for another round of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
In a televised public address on April 27, 2020, Duterte said he lost respect for the CPP since members of its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), continue to attack government troops amid the unilateral ceasefire brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
“There is [sic] no more peace talks to talk about. I am not and I will never be ready for any round of talks. Simply, the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines, has no respect either for their spoken words or their deeds of killing soldiers who are on humanitarian missions,” he said.
Duterte said he was “sad” that soldiers were being killed and injured despite their role in helping in the distribution of emergency subsidies to poor families affected by the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“It is a sad thing to know that yung mga sundalo ko, pinagpapatay (my soldiers are being killed) while even doing the most honorable task of accompanying government workers delivering money and the food,” he said.
‘Time of reckoning’
He, however, believed that the NPA atrocities would eventually be punished.
“I am so sad about this development but there will always be a time for reckoning,” he added.
He expressed gratitude to all government troops for their services during the prevailing ECQ.
“I’d like to thank…my gratitude to the uniformed services natin dito (here)–airforce, flying almost with nonstop delivering the medicines and medical kits required and for the army for delivering also in company with the government workers yung mga tulong na pera pati yung mga pagkain (for the monetary and food assistance),” he said.
Earlier, Duterte said he might only be compelled to declare martial rule in the event that lawlessness of the communist guerillas persist.
On Nov. 23, 2017, Duterte signed Proclamation 360 to formally scrap the peace negotiations with the NDF due to the series of attacks launched by communist rebels against the government forces and civilians.
The termination of peace talks was followed by the Dec. 5, 2017 signing of Proclamation 374, branding the CPP-NPA as terror group because of the crimes they allegedly committed “against the Filipino people, against humanity, and the law of the nations.”
The CPP-NPA has been tagged as a terrorist organization by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Peace talks between the national government and the NDF have been on and off since 1986.
In January, Duterte said his government is ready for the possible resumption of talks with the communist party.
He said he already formed a new government peace panel that would hold negotiations with NDF consultants for the crafting of a binding peace pact between the two parties.
Duterte, in February, said he remained optimistic that his administration would be able to achieve a lasting peace with the CPP at a “much earlier” time since many members of the NPA are surrendering and seeking reintegration into the society. (Azer Parrocha, PNA)