Duterte lifts ceasefire; says communists' demands 'too huge, impossible to meet'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte clearly did not like the National People's Army's (NPA) move to end it's unilateral ceasefire with the government.

On Friday, the President imposed a much earlier cancellation of the ceasefire — effective Friday — earlier than the rebel's suspension of ceasefire with the government on February 10.

"Kagabi  [Last night] I decided, I called [Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo] Año and said, i-lift ko yung ceasefire tonight," Duterte said in a speech, during the launching of a solar-powered irrigation system pilot project in North Cotabato.

"Wala na ang ceasefire," he reiterated.

The President expressed his disappointment and sadness over the end of the ceasefires.

Also read: Rebels end unilateral ceasefire: We'll 'negotiate while fighting'

According to Duterte, after releasing the communist leaders and engaging them in peacetalks in Oslo, Norway, the reds are now asking the government to free all 400 political prisoners from the communist side — a demand the government, Duterte said, cannot so easily meet.

"I thought all the while we have the ceasefire, suddenly they lifted it because they wanted ang Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) would want me to release 400 prisoners," Duterte said.

Duterte said the demands are too much and that he couldn't give what the rebels want.

"You know with that number, that can only be given by amnesty," Duterte said. "I do not own the Republic of the Philippines."

"Demands are too huge that it is impossible to meet or even work out a compromise," he added.

Duterte pointed out, he may have won the elections — but he still consults people, including the military and the police, as part of his decision-making process.

Watch: Duterte not inclined to release more political prisoners

Betrayal of trust?

President Duterte lamented the deaths of soldiers in the hands of the NPA, while the ceasefire is supposedly in effect.

"Kahapon, sa bilang ko, marami akong patay na sundalo [In my count yesterday, I have many dead soldiers]. I lost about six, and one officer," Duterte said.

"Nung nag ceasefire ako, kumpyansa mga sundalo ko maglakad dyan, kumuha (ng pera) sa atm. Ni wala ngang mga baril eh. Tapos kinidnap, patay, tatlo," he added.

[Translation: When I decalred ceasefire, my soldiers were at ease to walk and withdraw money from the ATM. They don't even have guns. Then they were kidnapped and killed, there were three.]

Duterte pointed out, he initiated peace talks in good faith and not for any political purposes. But with the recent turn out of events, he's forced to respond as President of the Philippines and commander-in-chief.

Also read: PH Army: NPA rebels kill, abduct soldiers despite ceasefire

Duterte: "I tried my best"

President Duterte pointed out, peace is one of his administration's priorities and would have been the legacy he wanted to leave for future generations.

"I went out of my way, walked the extra mile, just to look for an opening where I can find peace for my country," the President said.

But at this point in time, the President expressed he may just had given up.

"I would have wanted it very much, talagang gusto ko [I really want this]. It's 50 years in the making," Duterte said.

"Ang ibig sabihin, gusto nyo another 50 years? Wala ng katapusan? Eh 'di kung wala ng katapusan, e di sige. But let it not be said that I did not try. I guess that peace with the communist cannot be realized during our generation.

[Translation: Does it mean you want another 50 years? There's no more end to this? If that's what you want, so be it.]

Duterte also said, his administration would have been the golden opportunity to finally end the rift between the communist rebels and the government — but what will happen next are circumstances the communists opted for.

The President also ordered the military to prepare for war: "I'm asking the soldiers, go back to your camps, clean your rifles, and be ready to fight."

Also read: Peace panel given 12 months to finish talks with CPP-NDFP