Communist rebels reject local peace talks

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Story updated to include statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 3) — The communist movement rejected local peace talks and President Rodrigo Duterte's offer of homes and jobs to rebels who surrender.

"By pushing for local peace talks and enticing the surrender of NPA (New People's Army) fighters with silly incentives, Duterte reveals himself to have a very shallow appreciation of the profound social problems which are at the root of the raging civil war in the Philippines," the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in a statement on Friday.

The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP which has waged a 48-year-old insurgency, the longest-running in Asia.

The statement follows Duterte's expression of support for the efforts of  his daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to hold talks with communist rebels in her area.

In a speech on Tuesday, Duterte also reiterated his call for communist fighters to surrender, this time offering jobs and 5,000 houses in return.

The CPP said these were all a waste of time, insisting NPA rebels would not surrender as they are "united under its central leadership."

"Duterte's local peace talks will surely fail in its aim of dividing the revolutionary forces waging a nationwide people's war," the CPP said.

Lorenzana: Rebels surrendering in response to Duterte's offer

But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana believes Duterte's "sincerity" in resolving the conflict is paying off.

"We are delighted to note that a number of NPAs  have accepted the offer and are now restarting to live normal lives. Marami-rami na rin ang nagkusang loob na bumalik sa gobyerno (Many are voluntarily turning themselves in to the government)," Lorenzana said in a statement on Friday.

The Defense Secretary said his office supports Duterte's offer to provide assistance to NPA members who lay down their arms.

"We reiterate our call for the NPA to stop all their illegal activities, return to the fold of the law, and be part of the real change that the President has spearheaded for the betterment of our country and the lives of our people," Lorenzana added.

The Philippine Army's Sixth Infantry Division said eight members of the NPA surrendered in Sultan Kudarat on Thursday. Some 60 rebels have turned themselves in to the division since January this year.

On October 1, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said 378 rebels have surrendered in northeast Mindanao since February 4, when Duterte first terminated peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF). The NDF represents rebels in talks to end the communist insurgency.

The government again suspended the negotiations in May. The fifth round of peace talks were supposed to resume in August, but Duterte ordered a stop to negotiations. The President said the government will no longer talk with communist rebels because of their continuing offensives.

READ: Duterte: No more talks with communist rebels

The CPP committed to support the peace negotiations amid the armed struggle.

"The Party and all units of the NPA support the Negotiating Panel of the NDFP in its representation of all revolutionary forces in negotiations with the GRP with the aim of forging agreements to settle the outstanding socio-economic and political questions that compel the people to wage armed struggle," it said.