PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte Monday night said he would consult the military before making a decision on returning to the peace negotiations with the communist rebels.
Speaking before Filipino-Chinese businessmen at the Manila Hotel, Duterte said that Norway, the facilitator for the talks, reached out to him on February 15 for the possibility of resuming the peace talks.
“The Norwegian officials came here to explore the possibility of talking again. I have to consult my military people. Why? Eh sila ‘yung namamatay, hindi naman ako. Sabi ko, ‘I will talk to the military. If you would agree, I might [consider],’” the President said.
Duterte earlier met with Idun Tvedt, Norwegian special envoy for the peace process between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), in Davao City, three months after the government put an end to the talks due to continued attacks by the rebels on government troops and civilians.
Describing the discussion during Tvedt’s courtesy call as “warm and open,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said last week that the special envoy reiterated the commitment of the Norwegian Royal Government to assist the Philippines in its peace process with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Norway has been the third party facilitator of the talks since 2001.
The visit came on the heels of Duterte’s intensified verbal attacks against the communist rebels.
Duterte had declared that he would pay members of indigenous communities P25,000 for each rebel they killed and told soldiers to shoot female rebels in their vaginas, eliciting criticism from various groups.