Reds say Duterte 'doing well' in 1st 100 days
MANILA, Philippines – The communist National Democratic Front (NDF) stands by President Rodrigo Duterte amid international criticism of his war on drugs, saying he is "doing well" especially in accelerating the peace talks.
Formal talks between the Philippine government and the NDF resumed in August following the temporary release of 22 NDF consultants that the military had tagged to be leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines' (CPP) armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).
The talks led to an unprecedented ceasefire between the military and the NPA.
"In the assessment of his first 100 days, the leading patriotic and progressive organizations have made conclusions that the Duterte government is doing well," CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said at the opening ceremony for the 2nd round of talks in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday, October 6.
"One of the strong points of the Duterte government is, of course, the accellerated process of the peace negotiations," Sison added.
Duterte and the guerrillas share one thing in common: They don't like the Americans. The CPP blames the superpower's "neoliberal policies" for widespread poverty in the Philippines.
Hurting from US criticism of his war on drugs – linked to the deaths of at least 3,500 people – Duterte hurled invectives against the superpower and threatened to cut ties with the country's staunch ally.
"President Duterte has made manifestations that he's open to the principles and policies which NDF stand for, and you have witnessed legal and progressive forces in the Philippines welcome so many times the pronoucnements made by President Duterte," Sison said.
"The reaction of progressive forces are quite different from their reaction to previous presidents despite, of course, attempts of certain international and Philippine forces to put the Duterte government in a more difficult situation," Sison added.
Peace talks with the communist rebels was among the campaign promises of Duterte, a former student of Sison at the Lyceum. The two had a high-profile Skype conversation during one of Duterte's campaign sorties, where Sison promised a ceasefire if he wins. – Rappler.com