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Duterte ready to talk with Reds

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Even after revoking the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the communist group, President Duterte said he is ready to “talk again” with the rebels and review the possibility of declaring another truce with them.

The President admitted that peace negotiations are not easy but he insisted he would “not stop talking about peace” and even hold a “marathon” with the communists.

“We are hoping we could just talk. Maybe we did not understand each other and so the best way really is to talk again and find out whether it is reachable or beyond our reach,” the President said in a media interview in Malacañang after the conflict on the ceasefire declaration over the weekend.

In choosing peace over violence, Duterte maintained that buying bullets to kill a fellow Filipino is “always a despicable thought to me.” “I hope we can proceed with the talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines,” he added.

The President also said he would “see” if another ceasefire will be declared with the communist rebels. “I will see if I will be happy re-install the ceasefire maybe Christmas time, in the spirit of the season,” he added.

Last Saturday, the President lifted the ceasefire with the communists after failing to reciprocate the truce before his 5 p.m. deadline. But way past Duterte’s deadline, the communist group claimed it was set to declare a truce later that Saturday night.

The President, however, refused to comment on the rebels’ criticisms that he was impatient and imprudent in withdrawing the ceasefire last weekend.

Duterte said as president, he could not go into the “exercise of ideology of poltergeist” with the communist group.

He said he would just rely on the advice from concerned peace officials before making decisions on how to advance the peace process.

“I cannot run my own errands. I can’t go there and talk to them. Kung ano ibigay sa akin na advice with the talks, I will think about it, sleep on it perhaps and make a decision,” he said. “I will not go into a foul-mouthed thing here. I am talking in behalf of the republic,” he added.

But the President could not hide his dismay at the ceasefire issue with the rebels. “Ako nga namatayan na, kami pa kontrabida,” Duterte said, referring to the killing of militiaman by New People’s Army rebels two days after he ordered a unilatreal ceasefire with the rebels last July 25. (GENALYN KABILING)