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Duterte wants to revive peace talks with Reds


President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday declared his plan to revive the peace negotiations with communist rebels which had been scuttled in November.

Duterte made the announcement during the 24th Cabinet meeting in Malacañang "with clear instructions on the importance of forging a ceasefire agreement to stop mutual attacks and fighting while talks are underway," according to Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza.

“Let’s give this another last chance," Dureza quoted Duterte as saying.

Asked about the target of the resumption of the talks, Dureza said: “We’ll see when that ‘enabling environment’ [conducive for negotiations] becomes apparent.”

Dureza also said the President "committed to provide support, if necessary, in replacement of the 'revolutionary tax' that he asked be stopped."

Duterte scrapped the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) last November over continued attacks by the rebels on government troops and civilians. 

On Tuesday, Duterte indicated he is not closing his doors to resuming peace negotiations with the NDFP.

The President, however, called on the insurgents to stop committing atrocities, collecting "revolutionary taxes," and agree to a bilateral ceasefire.

CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, in response, said the NDFP is "open and ready" to return to the negotiating table with the government.

But Fidel Agcaoili, chief negotiator for the NDFP, said in a television interview on Monday that the resumption of the peace talks should have no preconditions. —JST, GMA News

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