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Duterte still pushing for peace with Reds

Duterte will not allow the assaults against our forces



Duterte on Tuesday urged the military to crush all terrorist groups. (Richard Madelo)

President Rodrigo Duterte still intends to pursue peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) despite his order to the military on to end the communist insurgency.

“But he (Duterte) will not allow the attacks, the assaults against our forces that is why if they attempt to that, the order is to crush them,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Salvador Panelo quoted said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday.

However, Panelo said Duterte won’t allow enemies of the state to conduct atrocities against state forces and the people.

In the same press briefing. Panelo said that if CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison is sincere with having a dialogue with government, the venue or the place where the talks will be held should not be an issue.

“According to Joma Sison, if it’s here, he doesn’t want it. But as far as we are concerned, if you are sincere, venue is not important,” Panelo said.

“The President has always been sincere. He always opens talks. But the problem with the other side is they keep on attacking our forces. So you cannot be standing, sitting idly and watch them terrorize or kill our own people, kaya ayaw niya iyon. Pero despite that, ‘Ako ay open pa rin kung gusto ninyong makipag-usap, usap tayo,” Panelo said.

With regards to the question of whether or not the government will declare a unilateral ceasefire with the Reds, Panelo said the AFP and the Department of National Defense has already made statements that they are not inclined to recommend for it.

“Well, as far as I know, ayaw nila. Hindi ba mayroon na silang statement na ayaw nila ng unilateral ceasefire,” Panelo said.

“Hindi ba usually he follows the recommendation of the people on the ground. He has not made any comment on that so I suppose …,” he said.

When asked if he will be giving an official declaration, Panelo said he will ask the President.

Duterte on Tuesday once again called on the military to crush all terrorist groups including the New Peolpe’s Army, Abu Sayyaf Group and kidnap anti-kidnap for ransom groups that continue to conduct terror activities in the country.

The President made the directive in a speech he delivered as the AFP celebrated its 84th founding anniversary in a ceremony held at the Lapu-Lapu Grandstand in Camp Aquinaldo.

Duterte led the anniversary rites which highlighted the various accomplishments of the AFP in the past year