Conditions for revival of peace talks with Reds non-negotiable, Palace says
Malacanang said on Thursday conditions set by President Rodrigo Duterte for reviving peace talks with the communist rebels are non-negotiable.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said if the talks would resume, Duterte even assured Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison, who has been self-exiled in The Netherlands, could return to the country without fear he would be arrested.
"So if the CPP-NPA would agree to these conditions, then peace talks could resume; and if peace talks would resume, the president said he’s even able and willing to grant Joma Sison an assurance that he can come home without being arrested for the purpose of participating in the peace talks," he said.
He said government peace panel member Hernani Braganza has been talking with the negotiating panel of the CPP-New People's Army-National Democratic Front to relay Duterte's readiness to open the peace talks and the conditions he has set.
For the peace process to proceed again, the president wants a "genuine ceasefire" between the government troops and the NPA fighters; that the rebels would desist from collecting revolutionary taxes; and that the Maoist group would not insist on a coalition government.
Asked on the implication of the possible resumption of the peace talks on the petition before the court to declare the CPP-NPA and some left-leaning individuals as terrorists, Roque said it was not even sure if the insurgent group would agree with the conditions.
"We don’t know in the first place if the CPP-NPA will agree to the terms of the president ‘no, because the terms are not subject to negotiation," he said.
But he added the government could file a manifestation to hold in abeyance the petition before the Manila City Regional Trial Court pending the outcome of the peace talks.
"I think it (terror tag petition) will be withdrawn if there is a final peace agreement signed," Roque added. Celerina Monte/DMS