National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. underscored on Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte has always been open to peace negotiations with the communist groups.
“The President has always said that he will always keep that window open for peace talks no matter how small it is,” Esperon told reporters at the sidelines of the Philippine Army’s change of command ceremony.
“In fact that should be the line of the President because he is the President, he is the father of the land... na kung may pagkakataong magusap o may magandang option na magusap, eh di magusap,” Esperon added.
On Thursday, the Chief Executive bared that he had directed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to go to the Netherlands and talk to Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison.
Esperon said the public should be glad with the decision of the President to reach out to the communists.
“This is exploratory. Abangan natin kung ano ang sasabihin,” Esperon said.
“Matuwa tayo kasi ang Presidente lagi niya sinasabi na laging bigyan ng puwang maski maliit lang ang peace talks,” he added.
Esperon refused to divulge what the conditions are of the Philippine government if peace talks will really resume.
Esperon, however, mentioned that Duterte wants peace talks to happen in the Philippines hat once both panels decide to go back to the negotiation table.
“Let me not go into that. I’m sure the President has given instructions to Secretary Bello. But remember noong bago matigil ‘yung peace talks, sinabi na ng Presidente na gusto niyang venue ng peace talks will be here. So minimum requirement ‘yun,” Esperon said.
“There will be bilateral declaration of ceasefire na may mga rules din. Hindi puwedeng magsunog ang NPA, hindi puwedeng gagala-gala sila. Let us see, it’s a dynamic process,” he added.
The peace talks was halted in November 2017 after Duterte expressed disappointment over the continuous atrocities of the communist rebels.
Duterte had also directed security forces to put an end to the communist insurgency problem in the Philippines. —LDF, GMA News