Philippines president expresses hopes over continuing talks with rebels

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday voiced hope that the peace talks with communist rebels will continue, stressing the need to usher in peace in the country.


“I hope that we can proceed with the talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP),” Duterte said at the Malacanang presidential palace. he did not elaborate.

He also stressed the need to pursue peace talks not only with the communist rebels, but also with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

However, Duterte made it clear that his administration will not talk to the extremist Abu Sayyaf group, branding them as criminals.

“I will not deal wth criminals. I will not deal with persons of extreme brutality,” he said, adding that “there is no redeeming factor or reason for me to sit down and talk with criminals.”

“They (the Abu Sayyaf) are just out to derail the life of a nation,” Duterte said. “They have no ideology.”

Duterte revoked Saturday a week-old unilateral ceasefire he had declared after the communist rebels killed a militia man and wounded four others in Davao del Norte last Wednesday despite the truce.

The government and the communist rebels are scheduled to hold talks in Oslo, Norway from Aug. 20 to Aug. 27 in a fresh attempt to end decades-old leftist insurgency.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said the CPP’s armed wing – the New Peoples’ Army has estimated 4,000 members. They have been fighting the government since 1969 in one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies.

The government has been attempting to forge peace with the rebels since 1986, but the on-and-off talks have faltered many times since. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/News Ghana

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