PRRD on talks with Reds: ‘If they’re not willing, that’s fine’

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DAVAO CITY (June 30) — President Rodrigo Duterte finds no problem if the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) would no longer talk peace under his administration.

“If they are not willing to talk to me, that’s fine. I don’t have problem,” Duterte said in a media interview after gracing the 25th Annual National Convention of the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines in Panglao, Bohol on Thursday night.

According to reports, Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP), said the NDFP could no longer negotiate with the present administration “based on the implications drawn from the current impasse”.

“Well, it does not really change the equation. We are still fighting with the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Duterte said.

“So we continue with the war. Anyway, we have been there for 50 years. Ano ba naman ang dagdagan natin ng 30 years (Would it matter if we add 30 years more)?” he added.

Duterte also seemed to remain unfazed by Sison’s threat to join forces that may destabilize the government.

“What forces? Who is willing to join him? De Lima? My God!” Duterte said, referring to detained Senator Leila De Lima.

“What’s important is the Filipino people know what is going on. If you want to cease, overthrow government, fine,” he added.

Despite Sison’s threat, Duterte said he is still committed to achieve peace with the enemies of the state, including Moro rebels in Mindanao.

“If you want to talk, you come here. If you don’t like, it’s up to you,” Duterte said, referring to the self-exiled communist leader.

“Look, I’m here. I’m just a worker of (the) government and my main task is just to seek, to find peace for my country,” he said.

Last week, the government relayed to the NDFP the decision of Duterte to postpone the resumption of peace talks “pending the three-month review of all signed agreements related to the peace negotiations”.

The three-month period will also be used for public and government consultation on the peace talks. (PNA)

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