Duterte on peace talks with NDF: “no more talk, let us fight”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 July) — President Rodrigo Duterte announced Friday he is abandoning the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and ordered the arrest of the previously freed consultants, as he lashed out at Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison, his former professor in Political Thought, for branding him a “bully.”

During the opening of the two-day Davao Investment Conference at SMX Convention Center here Friday, the President called on the CPP which he described as “number 1 enemy of the state” that there will be no more peace talks.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday told a business conference that he is abandoning the peace talks with the National Democratic Front. He also announced the arrest of NDF consultants who were temporarily freed to participate in the peace process. Ace Morandante / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“No more talk. Let us fight. I’ll save enough money for the arms, I’ll buy the new ones, the precision guided missiles. And there’s too much of us, 110 million. It can sacrifice about 20 (million Filipinos), it becomes 80 (million; 90, not 80). Hindi na over populated” (We won’t be over populated), said Duterte, who admits he is fond of hyperbole and sarcasm.

He agreed with the CPP’s description of him as a bully.

The CPP in a July 20 statement published on www.philippinerevolution.info two two days after Duterte called on Congress to a joint session to deliberate on the extension of Martial law and suspension of the privilege of Writ of Habeas Corpus until December 31, 2017 or “for such period the Congress may determine.”

“It is a strongman’s act of bad faith aimed at bullying the NDFP to bow to his terms of surrender,” the CPP said.

“One hundred one per cent I bully people who try to topple government and all the enemies of the state,” Duterte said.

Duterte again threatened the communists to another 50 years of fighting and pointed to them as the ones who showed disinterest in the peace process by saying the declaration of martial law makes the talks unnecessary.

The President declared martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for 60 days effective 10 p.m. on May 23, hours after clashes between government forces and the Maute Group began.

The 60-day period is supposed to end at 10 p.m. on July 22 but Duterte sought an extension up to December 31, 2017.

“And sabi ko sa komunista, talking during an event like martial law would … render the talks unnecessary. I believe you, Mr. Sison. You are right, we stop talking. We are wasting our time. This war that you are fighting, I was listening to you when I (was) a student. That was 50 years ago. Let us renew the fighting for another 50 years. This is what you want. Anyway, all of us will not see the light of day, of this revolution of yours. That is too far away, 50 years,” he said.

The President met with leftist leaders in Malacanang on Tuesday night.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced Wednesday evening that the back channel negotiation with the NDF scheduled a few days later, was canceled following an ambush Wednesday morning on a two-vehicle convoy of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Duterte said the convoy was heading to Marawi which he visited on Thursday afternoon.

The convoy was ambushed allegedly by some 150 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) clad in military uniforms at a checkpoint they mounted with a banner of Task Force Davao along the Davao-Bukidnon Road.  A member of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit was killed while five PSG personnel were wounded, while a personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group was abducted.

The backchannel talks would have been held supposedly in the next few days in Europe in hope to come up with an enabling environment for the reopening of the peace table after nearly two months impasse since the cancellation of the fifth round of talks on May 27.

Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza said the enabling environment for the conduct of peace negotiations is still not present.

Duterte said not even backchannel talks would be held.

“Wala na, ayoko na (No more, I don’t like it). Actually kind of… maybe at this time, they have decided really to stop talking. And me I have also to decided to just abandon the talks,” he said.

Surrender or face arrest

Duterte added he will order the re-arrest of the NDFP consultants and hunt them down if they do not surrender.

“Yes, of course. Of course. They have to surrender or—we will hunt them down. No, I’m sorry please do not resist because magkagulo tayo niyan (we will be in trouble) if you resist with the firearm or with the violence there. Do not resist, surrender because ang usapan natin i-release kayo conditionally. So that you can participate in the talks and make it successful because your presence is needed,” he said.

“That was what the original idea came about releasing you. But since there are no more talks, stick to the agreement and surrender. You will be hunted and I will see to it, pagkatapos nitong Marawi tingnan mo” (after Marawi, watch out),  he added.

The NDF said the arrest of the NDFP consultants is a violation of the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and violates their democratic rights under the 1998 (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

It said said Duterte is showing “he no longer has need for peace negotiations with the NDFP amid waging a triple war of death and destruction under its US-supported martial law rule.”

Duterte called on NPA guerrillas to surrender and vowed to offer them posts in the military within two months.

“Dito, lumipat kayo sa gobyerno. Punta kayo sa pulis. (Here, you join with us. Go to the police.) I will make you soldiers tomorrow. Just like the soldiers here. Gawin ko kayong sundalo (I will make you all soldiers) I’ll give you a place to stay. Right away. Just give me about two months. Bigyan ko kayong trabaho. Dalhin ninyo iyong baril dito (I will give you work. Just bring you firearms here),” he said.

Entry into the Armed Forces of the Philippines or Philippine National Police requires that an applicant meets the qualifications prescribed for admission. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)