Philippines’ Duterte ready to reopen peace talks with Maoist rebels

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is willing to reopen peace talks with Maoist-led rebels, more than four months after breaking off intermittent negotiations. In February, the Justice Ministry asked a local court to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), “terrorist” bodies that Duterte had sought to destroy. When he came to office in July 2016, he freed some Maoist leaders and appointed leftists to the cabinet to draw them into peace talks. The peace process was abandoned in November after attacks by the guerrillas during the talks. “We are not enemies,” Reuters quoted Duterte as saying on Tuesday. He was addressing NPA fighters in a speech in central Oriental Mindoro province, a rebel stronghold. He also likened the disagreement between his government and the rebels to a lovers’ quarrel that eventually he thought will end.