Malacañang on Monday, April 22, said the possible resumption of the government’s peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) could be the “last chance” to finally put an end to the group’s decade-long rebellion.
“The problem is we’ve been talking peace with them for years and years and years. Walang katapusan. So I think the President said that this is our last chance,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. said during a Palace press briefing.
The Palace official stressed that the 60-day timeframe set by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the revived peace talks with the CPP-NPA was just enough to achieve the parties’ shared agenda of addressing the root cause of the rebellion.
“I don’t think there’s a divergence of views on the root causes of rebellion; it is poverty. So if the government and the CPP-NPA will agree to address the root causes, then it should not even take 60 days,” Roque said.
“We have a common platform. Mas maginhawang buhay para sa lahat, mas komportableng buhay para sa lahat,” he added.
Roque noted that the 60-day period would start as soon as both sides clearly agree upon the specific conditions for the revival of the peace talks.
“No target… as far as I know, both have to agree to resume peace talks and the 60-day period should be reckoned from that day,” he said.
Furthermore, the Presidential Spokesperson assured the safety of CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison should he come home to the Philippines to talk peace with the government.
“The President has given his word that he will not be apprehended while in the Philippines… His liberty will be guaranteed by the President,” Roque said.
On the other hand, he clarified that apart from guaranteeing the Communist leader’s protection while in the country, the President has not acceded to any other conditions set by the CPP.
“I don’t know if he’s in the position to provide for conditions,” he said, referring to Sison’s recent statement that significant advances in the peace talks should first be attained before he comes home.
“What the President said was if peace talks will resume, he’s welcome to come home, the President will assure his security and the fact that he will not be arrested. Beyond that, the President has not acceded to any further terms,” Roque stated.