Instead of spending money to hold peace talks with communist rebels in Norway, the Philippine government can save by holding them inside the country, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said it was President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself who emphasized that peace talks should be done in the country since it is “a talk between Filipinos.”
“The President has emphasized that this is a talk between Filipinos, (so this) should be held in the Philippines. Hindi naman po kinakailangan pa na mangibang bayan para makipag-usap ng kapayapaan lamang,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Roque said the funds for peace talks in Norway could be “better” spent in providing for the needs of members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“Gamitin na lang natin iyong perang iyon para sustentuhan iyong mga lumalabang NPA habang nagkakaroon tayo ng ongoing peace talks,” he added.
He added that there would no longer be a need for a third party facilitator but is willing to welcome parties who want to help. “Wala na po siguro, nandito na naman tayo sa Pilipinas,” Roque said.
“Any party who wants to help and who’s been involved in the process can help,” he added. PNA