BONGABONG, Oriental Mindoro — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, April 3, called on communist rebels to immediately stop hostilities if they want to resume peace talks with government.
“So ito, first time ko ito nagsalita since (Joma) Sison is always mentioning about the peace process. I am ready. First thing is we should stop killing each other. Then if we can have peace; and if you do not have the money, government will subsidize it,” President Duterte said during the inauguration of the Lisap bridge in Barangay Hagan here.
The President said both the government and the New People’s Army (NPA) should agree on some fundamentals.
“In the meantime na kung gusto niyo talagang totohanan is you stop immediately, you and I ceasefire tayo. Ni walang isang putok, maski labintador and I would be happy,” he said.
He also urged the rebels to stop collecting revolutionary tax and harassing businessmen.
“Hintuan ninyo ang revolutionary government, huwag na kayong mag-sunog in the name of taxation kasi kakaawa ‘yung mga negosyante,” he said.
“Number one is ceasefire, no taxation, at ceasefire na labas-pasok para makapaggawa ako ng maraming ganito bridge all over the country,” he added.
Duterte also expressed willingness to shoulder the expenses during the peace process.
“Ako po’y ready — I will subsidize the peace process. Ako ‘yung babayad ng hotel, ako ‘yung babayad ng gastos ninyo. At ‘yung mga tao ninyo, kung ano ang naipon, ‘yun na muna ang gastusin ninyo,” he said.
Duterte reiterated that he cannot concede to the coalition government demanded by the rebels.
“For the simple reason that I do not own the sovereign power of the state,” he said.
The President stressed that government funds should be allotted for the construction of hospitals and schools than be wasted on senseless wars.
“Ayaw ko ngang magpatayan eh. Sayang ang pera. Gawa na lang natin ng ospital, gawa na lang natin ng mga eskwelahan, mag-usap na lang tayo,” he said.
President Duterte led the inauguration of Lisap Bridge project which is expected to reduce travel time from Bongabong to Roxas to 20 minutes and to benefit more than 7,000 motorists daily.
“A new two-lane Lisap Bridge will make the transport of people, goods and services safer and more comfortable,” he said. PND