‘Give me a good reason to resume talks’- Duterte to Reds
President Rodrigo Duterte will return to the negotiating table with communist rebels only if their exiled founder, Jose Ma. Sison, could give him a “good reason” to do so.
The President admitted that he was “greedy” in demanding “more” from the Communist Party of the Philippines to prove its sincerity in resuming the peace talks.
“Communists, Jose Ma. Sison, give me a good reason to go back to the bargaining table. If there is none, or if it’s just a repeat of what we have discussed earlier, then that will not suffice,” he said during the birthday celebration of former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Davao City on Sunday night.
“I need more, I need more. I might be greedy, but I am greedy because I am [a] worker of the Republic of the Philippines,” he added.
The government suspended peace talks with the insurgents last June, pending a review of past agreements between the two panels of negotiators and a public consultation.
The President previously said he would only allow the resumption of the peace talks if his conditions were met.
He said the negotiations should be held in the country, the communists should declare a ceasefire, stop collecting revolutionary taxes and drop their demand for a coalition government.
On Sunday night, the President appealed to the insurgents anew to abandon what he described as their “useless” cause.
“Leave it, it’s useless. You won’t get anything. You will grow and be buried in the forest,” he said.
But if the peace talks should resume, the President made it clear that he would not negotiate “on bended knees” nor let the communists make demands.
“I will not talk to you on bended knees while you dictate [your terms]. I should be the tough one, why should it be you?” he said.
Path of peace
The President warned that the insurgents would be defeated eventually if they did not choose the path of peace.
“If you want another 50, 52 years of the blood of your own countrymen, you know you can never win. You cannot even hang on to one barangay,” he said.
The President said the military and the police were prepared to counter the “arrogance” of communist leaders.
“They talk with such arrogance. I am really pissed off with that. I have the Air Force, the police, the Navy, the Army,” the President said.
“They don’t even have a headquarters, and yet they talk so big. Stop it. If they want [war], then so be it,” he added.