PH gov't cancels peace talks with Reds

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 22, 2017

The Philippine government has canceled all planned meetings with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front months after peace talks were halted.

His peace adviser Jesus Dureza on Wednesday confirmed Duterte's latest decision in a statement but declined to say if further meetings had been scheduled.

Dureza said there will be no peace negotiations anymore until such time as the "desired enabling environment conductive to a change in the government's position" is evident.

He said the "recent tragic and violent events" committed by the rebels led to the President's decision to suspend talks. This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. He also took to task the Communist Party, saying its armed elements "have not shown reciprocity" to the steps President Duterte made to bring peace.

"Despite this setback (hopefully only temporary), we remain steadfast and undeterred in our unrelenting journey for sustainable and just peace", Dureza said, "I now call on everyone: "let's all stay the course together".

The government, meanwhile, expressed its gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for its support on the peace negotiations.

With this announcement, the Department of National Defense (DND), in a separate statement, said that the government will "continue to vigorously pursue operations against their armed components".

"We take guidance from the President's recent announcement and declarations".

While he had long declared suspended talks with communists in July, and before that in February, Dureza had long held out hope the talks would continue, even informally.

He added Tuesday he would issue a proclamation declaring the rebels a "terrorist" organisation and order the arrest of more than a dozen rebel leaders he had freed previous year.

In his visit to soldiers on Tuesday, Duterte announced that he wanted to scrap talks with the rebel New People's Army (NPA) following their string of attacks that have affected civilians.

"Inambush nila 'yung pulis in Mindanao tapos pati 'yung bata na 4 months old tinamaan".

"You tell the guys there in the Netherlands: I am no longer available for any official talk. Giyera na lang tayo [Let's just wage war]", he said.

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