PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has described as a “show of goodwill” the offer of the New People’s Army (NPA) to help government troops in fighting terrorists in war-torn Marawi City.
But in a speech in Zamboanga Sibugay last Friday, Duterte was quick to explain that he was “not so keen” about the offer of the NPA, the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Explaining Duterte’s statement, Malacañang, through Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, said the rebels must first reciprocate the Duterte administration’s sincerity in the peace negotiations.
Abella said the NPAs must halt their attacks on government forces, adding “the government hopes to see them sign a unilateral ceasefire agreement for us to go back to the negotiating table.”
“Beyond words, gestures and offers, let’s talk concrete action that must be sincere and authentic. Only then can peace have a chance,” according to the presidential spokesman.
The Chief Executive from Mindanao had earlier said that he would not allow any negotiations unless the National Democratic Front (NDF) would sign a document declaring a unilateral ceasefire.
The reported NPA offer is, without doubt, a welcome development in the country’s decades-old communist insurgency problem in this impoverished Southeast Asian nation.
Various quarters said that the level of the saber-rattling between the government and the communist rebels should not be raised if we are to resume the peace negotiations.
In the view of many, the communists must halt their attacks on government forces and stop their extortion activities that contribute to the people’s misery at this time of economic hardship.
For the sake of the Filipino people, let’s stop killing each other.