Spokesman stresses there must be “compelling reason” to revive talks with NDF
Two days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with three leftist Cabinet members, his spokesperson said ending the peace talks with the National Democratic Front stays unless there is “compelling reason.”
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Friday although Duterte “ wants nothing more than to fulfill his goal of bringing peace to all Filipinos, regardless of ideology and ethnicity, but there must be a compelling reason for him to return to the table to talk.”
Peace talks with the NDF was terminated this month after six soldiers were reported killed in skirmishes with the New People’s Army despite a ceasefire by both camps.
Duterte ordered the peace consultants of the NDF, who were on temporary freedom to help in the peace talks, re-arrested.
On Monday, Duterte will meet Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and National Anti-Poverty Commission chairman Liza Maza.
Responding to the call of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum which invited the president to “keep talking towards peace”, Abella stressed Duterte said: Tthe interest of the Filipino people must come first.”
“The CPP-NPA-NDF needs to exhibit confidence-building measures to show their sincerity to the peace process,” Abella added.
“There is no assurance except that the Duterte administration will continue efforts to unite our people and work with all sectors in bringing about inclusive development and a just and lasting peace for all,” Abella said. DMS