President Duterte last Sunday night spelled out his own conditions for the communist rebels if they want the peace talks with the government to resume.
In his speech before Filipinos in Myanmar, the Chief Executive said that the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front’s (CPP-NDF) armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) to stop doing their illegal activities as well as stop making unreasonable demands to the government.
The President stressed that he is not yet keen in ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to stop launching offensives against the NPA through a unilateral ceasefire unless they submit to his conditions.
“Now they are saying, they will order a ceasefire. I said, on my part, I won’t, not yet. Give me a ceasefire that is reduced in writing so that we can establish the parameters,” he said.
Duterte also called on the rebels to stop their extortion activities which they claim to be a way of collecting their so-called “revolutionary taxes.”
“Stop asking for money. Otherwise, we continue pounding each other. We have been at it for 50 years. Do you want another 50 years? Are you good for another 50 years?” the President said.
The Commander in Chief also urged the rebels to stop demanding that state forces to vacate guerrilla zones or areas where the NPA operates and as well as releasing cops and soldiers they’ve hostaged.
Based on the the joint statement of the government and the NDF peace panels, both sides are set to declare a unilateral ceasefire for their ranks before the first week of April which is the target date for the formal resumption of talks in Oslo, Norway.
Meanwhile, militant lawmakers condemned yesterday the series of “intensified pursuit operations” in Malibcong, Abra wherein the soldiers are said to be using aerial bombs indiscriminately.
Reports said that on March 16, four fighter jets dropped bombs on forested parts affecting swidden farms, grazelands and rice fields as part of the combat operations of the 24th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army under the 7th Infantry Division.
“Instead of tackling legitimate issues of agriculture, education and the roots of armed conflict, Duterte and the AFP are quick in pillaging the mountains, killing the people and limping their livelihoods, especially for our national minorities,” Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.
“Despite pronouncements to continue the peace talks, Duterte’s all-out offensives and terror will