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AFP backs Duterte's decision to resume peace talks with Reds

The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Saturday expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to resume peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Duterte on Thursday ordered Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to fly to The Netherlands to talk with self-exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison, months after the President announced the termination of peace negotiations.

"The AFP respects and supports the wisdom of the commander-in-chief in issuing such pronouncements," AFP spokesperson Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

"We understand that those instructions to Secretary Bello are in the nature of exploratory discussion with Mr. Sison and are meant towards the attainment of sustainable peace, which is the President's and also the AFP's ultimate desire," he added.

According to Aravelo, should the AFP resume peace talks with the CPP, they will "do so from [a] position of strength."

"We are continuing with our successful focus military operations in support of National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict that is reaping the gains tremendously in terms of NPA neutralization and enormous support of the local government and the people," Aravelo said.

Likewise, Arevalo reiterated the AFP's commitment to peace.

"Time and again [...] we unequivocally commit to all-out peace that shall embody the aspirations of our people who have long been yearning for it," he added. —Joahna Lei Casilao/LBG, GMA News