Duterte offers olive branch to Philippine rebels

DAVAO,REUTERS:Philippines President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would pursue peace talks with Marxist guerrillas and as an olive branch would offer government roles to the Communist Party of the Philippines, including its exiled founder.

Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte

The mayor and self-styled sheriff of Davao City said it was time to put an end to hostilities with the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, which has been embroiled in decades of on-off fighting with government troops in the south and east of the country that has killed 40,000 people.

Mr. Duterte’s peace offer would include a ministerial post to Jose Maria Sison, the CPP figurehead who lives in the Netherlands and was once listed by the U.S. as a “person supporting terrorism”.

“I offer my hand in peace to Sison and to others and we can talk,” Mr. Duterte told a news conference in Davao, where he has remained since a May 9 election for which an unofficial vote count shows him a clear winner.

In a television interview, Mr. Sison said he was felt proud to see Mr. Duterte win but ruled himself out of serving in his cabinet. He said the CPP would seriously consider his offer.

“No, I don’t want any position for myself, but you know there are many people who are very competent,” he told CNN Philippines.