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.
‘Meeting with OFWs an integral part of President’s visit to SG’
Meanwhile, the Cabinet official said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Singapore can expect much from the President’s upcoming meeting with them on the sidelines of the upcoming 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
President Duterte is off to the Southeast Asian country to attend the Summit which will be held this week, wherein he is also set to meet with the Filipino community.
“That’s always been an integral part of every official trip that the Philippines embarks on, a meeting with the Filipino community,” Secretary Roque stressed.
Roque said this is the President’s way of engaging in communication with OFWs who want to air their concerns to the Philippine government.
“I think it’s a good practice of the President… It’s very much appreciated by the OFWs and the President conducts these meetings as a matter of course,” he added.
Palace welcomes ASEAN CEOs forecast of PH GDP growth
During the same press briefing, Malacañang welcomed the findings of the latest Business Barometer: Oxford Business Group (OBG) in ASEAN CEO Survey, where investor sentiment and business prospects for the Philippines “remain upbeat.”
According to the said report, the Philippines ranked highest in the ASEAN region in terms of projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth, with business leaders forecasting the country’s GDP growth rate between six to eight percent.
“We guarantee that the Duterte administration remains on track in accelerating the country’s growth rate by improving the ease of doing business to transform the country into one of the world’s leading investment destinations,” Secretary Roque stressed. ### PCO-Content