Duterte orders ‘last chance’ for peace talks with Reds

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his men during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, April 4, to support the resumption of talks with communist rebels responsible for Asia's longest-running communist insurgency.

"Let's give this another last chance," chief peace adviser Jesus Dureza quoted Duterte as saying. 

Dureza said the President issued "clear instructions on the importance of forging a ceasefire agreement to stop mutual attacks and fighting while talks are underway." (READ: Lorenzana sets conditions for joint ceasefire with communist rebels)

Aside from a bilateral ceasefire agreement, Duterte also wants the rebels to stop collecting revoutionary taxes. 

"He (Duterte) also committed  to provide support, if necessary, in replacement of the revolutionary tax that he asked be stopped," Dureza said. 

Duterte's pronouncement comes in the wake of attacks by alleged fighters of communist New People's Army (NPA) in his hometown Davao City. Heavy equipment were burned, stalling work for a P1.3-billion bypass road project.

A resolution calling for the resumption of peace talks was earlier signed by at least 60 representatives in the House of Representatives.

The military said over 4,000 NPA combatants and supporters have surrendered since talks collapsed last year. – Rappler.com