DAVAO CITY, May 30, 2017 — Mayor Sara Duterte today said her offer to conduct localized talks with the New People’s Army (NPA) still remains but the communist rebels should lay down their firearms and stop their offensives.
In a statement, the mayor said she has “put aside all personal feeling towards the rebels” as she explores possible ways that could help the city’s peace and security.
Following the three simultaneous attacks staged by the rebels last month in Davao City, the mayor repeatedly criticized the NPA, calling it “a terrorist organization” guided by “obsolete ideals and principles.”
“I have no choice, I am the Mayor of Davao City,” she said of her offer for localized peace talks. “I’ll push things that I think can make the city better and one of them is the local peace talk.”
However, Sara said she will only sit down with the NPA if the rebels agree to lay down their firearms and cease their offensives.
“I am always open, but we cannot sit down if they continue their offensive operations against the people, against the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” she said.
The mayor said it would also be difficult to talk with the rebels if they continue their attacks using landmines that kill innocent people.
She said the NPA must be sincere once the localized peace talks start.
Sara also said it is lamentable that the NPA continues to commit atrocities in the hinterlands villages of Davao even when the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) talks peace with the national government.
This week, the government peace panel refused to participate in the 5th round of the peace talks in the Netherlands following the order by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for the NPA to intensify its offensives in light of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.