Orders Bello to talk with Joma Sison
By ROGER M. BALANZA
President Rodrigo Duterte wants to talk peace anew with the communists and will be sending Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III to the Netherlands to lure exiled communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison to the negotiation table.
Duterte, whose administration had engaged the rebels in on-and-off peace negotiations, said he cannot close the door on the possible resumption of talks with the communist movement, stressing that the nation is “longing for peace.”
“You should understand that the quest for [or] the longing for peace is always there, and not for the military and the police but for everybody. Kailangan (It is necessary that) the doors must be open always or there must be at least one channel, if everything closes, na pwede mong pakiusapan (that you can tap),” he said.
“Malaman lang ninyo iyang pagdating ng panahon (You will know at the right time) what will happen next. If he (Sison) agrees, ito ang sabi ko (I said this) is the last card. When I say my last card, my time is running out,” Duterte added.
On Thursday, December 5, Duterte announced that he has directed Bello III to talk peace with Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The President made the announcement when he presided over the situation briefing on the effects of Typhoon Tisoy in the Bicol Region.
He, however, refused to elaborate on the impending dialogue between Sison and Bello.
“Ang ano ko ngayon (My stance is) I cannot stop. Hindi ko pwedeng sabihin, ayoko nang makipag-usap (I cannot say I no longer want to talk to them). That is not a statement of a leader, of a president,” Duterte said in a speech delivered at the Legazpi City Convention Center in Legazpi City, Albay.
“Now this is the first time I will reveal it. I’m sending Secretary Bello. Komunista naman talaga ito siya (He’s really a communist) so he should go there, talk to them, and… I cannot talk about it…but I’m sending him back to Sison and talk to him,” he added.