DAVAO CITY, Philippines — First was the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire, now President Rodrigo Duterte is suspending the peace negotiations between the government and the Communists.
“I am not ready to resume,” Duterte told reporters here Saturday night during his visit to his parents’ tomb at the Roman Catholic Cemetery.
He added: “I’d like to tell the Filipino people, peace with the Communists might not come in this generation.”
Duterte said it would need one “compelling reason” for him to continue the talks which was resumed in August last year.
Duterte ordered the cancellation of the peace negotiations following his decision to immediately terminate the unilateral ceasefire effective Friday night.
Prior to this, the Communist Party of the Philippines Central Committee and the New People’s Army National Operations Command lifted its unilateral interim ceasefire.
Duterte: I tried everything
Duterte, said he tried everything and even “walked the extra mile” for the peace negotiations.
“I walked the extra mile, released prisoners, released their leaders so they could go to Oslo to talk. Now they want 400 plus prisoners who fought the government under a rebellion, crime, and that is only given, common sense would tell you, after a successful talk or talks,” he said.
The non-release of some 392 political prisoner was among the reasons cited by the CPP and the NPA why they ordered the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire which will take effect on February 10.
The government peace panel and and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the political wing of the CPP, were set to meet at the later part of this month in Utrecht, The Netherlands to discuss issues on the bilateral ceasefire agreement and the implementation of other agreements signed previously between both parties. The fourth round of the formal talks is scheduled on the first week of April in Oslo, Norway.
This was not the first time that Duterte raised the issue of the non-release of the prisoners. In December, Duterte said there will be no more releases of prisoners unless he sees a document signed by the NDFP that they are agreeing to a bilateral ceasefire. (davaotoday.com)