President Rodrigo Duterte has given a two-month timeline for peace negotiations between the government and the communists as he pledged to shoulder expenses during the peace process, The Manila Times Online reported on Sunday (Apr 8).
Duterte said the government would shoulder the accommodation expenses for the rebel representatives, including founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Jose Maria Sison, if they would agree to hold the peace negotiations in the Philippines.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr., meanwhile, said the peace dialogue would only resume if the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, heeded the conditions set by Duterte.
He said the revival of peace talks would depend on the communists’ commitment to honor a “genuine” and “absolute” ceasefire: cease and desist from collecting revolutionary tax and stop insisting on a coalition government.
On Saturday, the CPP said it was open to resuming talks but added that it had no choice but to keep fighting because of the military’s continued anti-insurgency operations. It said it would also wait for a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms.
“Without a genuine agreement for reforms, the peace offer is a mere public relations stunt,” said the CPP in a statement. It also criticized the armed forces for allegedly staging the surrenders of NPA rebels.