Davao mayor to pursue localized talks with Reds

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 July) – Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will pursue a localized peace negotiation with communist rebels even if the peace talks between government and the National Democratic Front have been stalled anew.

Duterte-Carpio, speaking to reporters on the first day of two-day Davao Investment Conference Friday at the SMX Convention Center here on Friday said she will issue an executive order that will set the mechanism for the talks.

She said the order is still being drafted and they hope to complete it by September.

“That’s why, we have been on the drawing board doing a draft for a localized peace process. The EO is still in infancy stage, meron pang maraming edits na gagawin (it will still be edited) but we will come up with that,” she said.

Upon its issuance, she said, she will put to task the City Social Services and Development Office, along with representatives from the private sector, to help in the local peace process.

“My office and other officers (of the City Government) will not be in the committee, and the members will come from, everyone will come from the private sector,” she said.

She said the proposed measure would focus on the livelihood and employment of the communist guerrillas in the hinterlands.

“Hindi ko gusto ang mga NPA pero (I don’t like the NPA but) as city mayor, I have obligation to pursue just and lasting peace for the city,” she said.

The mayor said they are still discussing how they would deal with NPA rebels who operate in the city but reside in neighboring provinces, but added they are not excluding them from this proposal.

“It can be that an NPA rebel is operating in Davao City but live in Davao Oriental or Compostela Valley. We have been discussing what to do with this kind of situation where they do not live in Davao City but went to participate and then go back to their communities,” she said.

She assured that her personal view on the NPA will not affect how the city government will deal with the communists.

She said she has yet to receive a response from the NPA to her proposal.

“Wala (None). We will not stop despite my personal opinion about the NPAs. We will not stop in pursuing a sit down with them. This will be given by the private sector,” she said.

She encouraged the business people operating in the far-flung areas of the city to refrain from giving revolutionary taxes to the NPA. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)