Sara Duterte wants father to ditch talks with communist rebels
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s eldest daughter, who once mounted a local initiative to talk peace with communists, is asking her father to reconsider resuming peace negotiations with communist rebels.
In a statement on Friday, April 13, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio dismissed negotiations with communists as “counterproductive and plainly useless.”
“If talks are revived, we are most certain that the NPAs (New People’s Army) will continue to terrorize government forces and civilians,” Duterte-Carpio said in a statement sent through the City Information Office.
The mayor said the communists have showed no indications that they would be sincere in moving forward in peace talks, based on recent events in the city.
During Holy Week, alleged NPA members burned heavy equipment vehicles used for a P1.3-billion road project of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Davao City.
Duterte-Carpio said the torching incident had delayed road construction and held back the development of communities.
She also reminded the President that fish vendor Larry Buenafe was killed when the NPA attacked Lapanday Food Corporation last year.
“Let us not forget Larry’s two very young children now growing without a father – and the many other orphaned children of other hapless, mostly poor civilians,” the mayor said.
Duterte-Carpio was wary that if negotiations resume, the communist rebels "will discharge offensives and unabated destruction, while recruitment of minors, farmers, Lumad, workers, and students would continue courtesy of its legal fronts."
Last year, the mayor signed an executive order that sought the creation of a local committee to discuss peace with NPA in Davao City last year, but she withdrew it after her father issued a proclamation declaring the NPA as a terrorist organization in December 2017.
She also revised the city’s accident fund policy to exclude NPA members and lawbreakers, who were previously eligible for financial assistance.
President Duterte had earlier expressed openness to resuming peace talks with communist rebels, but laid down several conditions, including a bilateral ceasefire agreement that would silence the guns until there is a final agreement to end the armed conflict. (READ: Joma to Duterte: We are ready to resume peace talks ASAP)
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPA, are behind Asia's longest running communist insurgency. Duterte promised to end the insurgency during his term, but talks have been on and off since last year. – Rappler.com