December 5, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — In a rare move, Vice President Sara Duterte publicly disagreed with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., calling moves to make peace with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) “an agreement with the devil.”
She also criticized Marcos’ efforts to grant pardons to captured rebel groups through several proclamations.
“Mr. President, the government’s statement with the NDFP in Oslo was an agreement with the devil,” said Duterte during the 5th Anniversary of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
Duterte, who is also vice co-chair of the NTF-Elcacchair, argued past experiences indicated that the NDFP was no sincere in seeking peace and that the rebels would only betray the government and the public.
She said that she had personally witnessed how Filipinos were harmed by the New People’s Army.
Duterte reiterated that she supported peace but disagreed with working with the NDFP to do so.
“It’s not by giving amnesty that is the way to peace. What we should do is continue what we started at the NTF-ELCAC and make it stronger. Mr. President, we can negotiate for peace and reconciliation and pursue meaningful development efforts in the Philippines without capitulating to the enemies,” she emphasized.
Marcos granted amnesty to select members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Moro National Liberation Front.
Marcos also touted that peace talks with the NDFP would continue after the vice president’s father, then-President Rodrigo Duterte, stopped talks with the group in 2018.