By Ralph Villanueva/Manila Times
Malacanang yesterday urged anew Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison and his comrades to end their armed struggle and rejoin society.
“It is time to rejoin society. There is nothing dishonourable in accepting defeat. There is another path for change other than armed struggle. Filipinos cannot continue killing Filipinos,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“Sison must step down from his ivory tower and extend his hands for peace, for his own sake, for his followers, for the Filipino people, for his country he loves so well,” he added.
In a speech on Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was willing to reopen peace negotiations with the communist rebels if they stopped their extortion or “revolutionary taxes.”
Speaking on the president’s offer, Panelo said of Sison: “To miss this golden opportunity will only reduce him to a historical footnote and thrown him into the dustbin of history. That will be tragic and such a waste,” he said. Sison rejected Duterte’s demand, saying it was an insult to the revolutionary movement as it would result in the “suicide” of their government.
“The people’s government needs financial resources for administration and social programmes, including public education, land reform, raising production, health and sanitation, people’s self-defence, cultural work, and so on,” he said.
Mocking Sison’s statements, Panelo said: “Oh… they have a government? The armchair illusory rebel chieftain must be running berserk with his imagination,” he said.
“No wonder his ground forces no longer follow him. He has to wake up from his daydreaming lest he gets a nightmare that will cut short his bourgeoisie lifestyle in The Netherland,” he added.
Duterte terminated peace talks between the government and the communists in November 2017 amid the rebels’ continued attacks on state troops.
He then declared the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, terror organisations and ordered the arrest of rebel leaders.
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