Manila Times /Manila
Senatorial aspirant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) to grab President Rodrigo Duterte’s fresh initiative for peace negotiations or completely lose the chance for peace.
“You have no other leader to talk to. If you let this chance slip by, you will face difficulty. He is the only one who understands you,” Go said in a radio interview.
Duterte ended peace talks with the communists in November 2017 and ordered the military to destroy the CPP a month later.
However, at the beginning of this year, the president said his administration was still open to the possibility of reviving peace talks with communist rebels.
Go, Duterte’s former special assistant, expressed hopes the communist groups would reciprocate the Chief Executive’s gesture of goodwill for peace.
He recalled that when Duterte was the mayor of Davao City, the two of them visited the lairs of various groups of the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed wing, in the region.
“We climbed mountains without bodyguards, without weapons, to get captive soldiers. We trusted them that much with our lives. So, President Duterte’s trust in them was that high at that point,” Go said.
“When he sat down as president, he gave communist leaders opportunities; he wanted reconciliation. He gave the (leadership) positions of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and even the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). The president really extended his hand (in peace),” Go said.
He said he understood the reason why Duterte scrapped the peace negotiation with the communist group when it started criticising and attacking his administration.
As part of his legislative agenda, Go is pushing for the conduct of localised peace talks by providing local government units support mechanisms for such initiative, pursuant to Duterte’s Executive Order 70 creating the National Task Force to end local communist armed conflict.
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