Duterte ready to formally end peace talks with Left

Pia Ranada
Duterte ready to formally end peace talks with Left
President Rodrigo Duterte says he is ready to sign a formal notice to terminate peace talks with the communists

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is ready to sign a formal notice of termination of peace talks with communists and was even surprised that his verbal cancellation of the talks is not enough for some.

“Give me a piece of paper. I will write it for you. Give it to them (communists),” he said on Wednesday, August 2, during a media interview in Quezon City.

He gave the interview after speaking at the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s anniversary.

Duterte even expressed surprise that a more formal step was needed to stop the talks after he had already verbally expressed his intention to do so.

“Ayaw ko na, sabi ko (I want the talks to stop, I said). So is there any other protocol that I have to comply [with] before it becomes final?” he asked reporters.

The government’s chief negotiator, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, had previously said he has not yet received any formal notice to terminate the talks signed by Duterte.

This document would put a definite end to the negotiations, which was supposed to have entered into the 5th round last May.

Duterte repeated previous sentiments – that talking with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is fruitless and a waste of time.

“If there’s nothing to expect in the talks, so why will we continue talking? What do you intend to accomplish? It only ends up at name-calling and shouting. Don’t waste my time, I have so many things to do,” he said. (READ: Joma Sison: Duterte is PH’s top drug addict)

Duterte announced an end to peace talks after members of his Presidential Security Group were hurt in a clash with New People’s Army rebels on July 19.

Before then, he had allowed backchannel talks between government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) to continue, after canceling the 5th round of talks in May.

The formal talks were canceled after the CPP ordered its rebels to intensify attacks against the government in response to Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao. (READ: Duterte dares Joma Sison, ‘Come home and fight’)

Duterte’s relationship with the Left soured further when he claimed in his second State of the Nation Address that CPP founder Jose Maria Sison is sick with colon cancer and then advised him to kill himself. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.