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Reds to Duterte: You need peace talks more than we do

Top communist leaders on Thursday claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte needs the peace negotiations more than they do "to recover from the downslide of his popularity" amid issues on his governance.

"At this point in time, it is Duterte and his regime that needs the peace negotiation. It is not us. He needs something to recover to the... you know the downslide of the so-called popularity," National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said in a Skype conference.

Agcaoili cited some issues they claim have contributed to the alleged decline of the Duterte regime's popularity such as the rising number of killings amid the administration's war against illegal drugs and the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law to the public.

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison echoed Agcaoili's remarks, noting that Duterte would really benefit if the government will return to the peace negotiating table.

"Duterte is not an honest politician. If he would consider the peace negotiation as a way of turning around the tide of hatred of people, the hatred against rising prices, against insecurity and rampancy of extrajudicial killings, he would have taken advantage [of that]," Sison said.

"This is a guy with no economic program, if a CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms) would have been adopted by him as a kind of economic program, but he is an idiot," he added.

The formal resumption of peace talks was scheduled to proceed on June 28 in Norway, but it did not push through as Duterte said he wants more public consultations before returning to the negotiating table.

Sison believed that the peace negotiations would only push through once Duterte "respect and comply with the existing agreements." — MDM, GMA News