Duterte: Total ceasefire, halt to revolutionary taxes among conditions for renewed peace talks

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President Rodrigo Duterte said the New Peoples' Army and the government are similar in the way that both sides would die for their beliefs.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte says again that he is open to talking peace with the communist rebels, but only if certain conditions are met.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Lisap bridge in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, Durterte said a total ceasefire between both the government and the NPA would be the first sign in showing sincerity on the path to peace.

"Gusto ko magkaroon tayo ng mapayapang usapan. But along the way, papunta roon maraming...well, obstructions and everything, but you must understand - dapat intindihin ninyo - hindi madali magpunta sa pararatingan natin," he said.

[Translation: I want to have peaceful tallks. But along the way, there have been a lot of...well, instructions and everything, but you must understand, it is not easy to reach out goal.]

Duterte said the NPA and the government were similar in the way that both sides would die for their beliefs.

"If we can have a middle ground, hindi ko naman sinasarahan lahat because hindi totoo 'yang forever. Maski sa magkakasintahan, ngayon lang 'yan. Bukas, 'pag hawakan na ang kamay wala na," he added.

[Translation: If we can have a middle ground, I am not closing myself off to anything because there is no such thing as forever. Even with couples, that's just for now. Tomorrowm, they holds hands, and everything is settled.]

Another condition the President laid down was to stop collecting revolutionary taxes.

Duterte added that he understood the NPA needed money to "proceed where you would like to be," and that's why they resort to taxation. Should a middle ground be met, Duterte said he would fund the peace process and the NPA could use the money they saved for their expenses.

"If you want peace, you have to invest money in peace," he said.

He then called on the NPA to stop their clamor for a revolutionary government and the burning of equipment "in the name of taxation" because people need to earn a living.

This is not the first time Duterte said he was open to the resumption of peace talks with the NPA.

In February, he said he was reconsidering the talks, but said he would consult with the military.

This, after peace talks between both sides officially ended in November 2017.

In March, dozens of lawmakers called on the President to resume peace talks by filing House Resolution No. 1803.