Batasan Pambansa, Quezon City
July 25, 2016

After delivering his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte met with the militant leaders who organized a rally outside Batasan Complex, and personally served them merienda at the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) inside the Batasan Pambasa, where the meeting took place.

In a Facebook post of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr., he narrated that he, together with other demonstrators, were resting when members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) approached and asked them to go with them.

“We talked about peace and how the President wanted to devote more resources to social services once the armed conflict was resolved,” said Reyes, adding that President Duterte likewise discussed about how the Lumads can return home “without fear of safety.” He said that they truly appreciated the gesture of the President.

Earlier in his SONA, President Duterte stressed that his goal before his term ends is to achieve a permanent and lasting peace throughout the country.
“To immediately stop violence on the ground, restore peace in the communities and provide enabling environment conducive to the resumption of the peace talks…Let me make this appeal to you: ‘If we cannot, as yet, love one another, then in God’s name, let us not hate each other too much,’ so it was said. I say the same to you today,” said the President.
Aside from welcoming the militant groups, it is also considered a historical event when the government allowed protesters to stage a rally along Batasan Road. PNP Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa likewise accepted their invitation and said that the police force was there to protect them and not to hurt them.

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