PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has formally terminated negotiations with the communist rebels, citing their supposed failure to show sincerity in pursuing the peace process, Malacañang said.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte signed Proclamation 360 on Thursday afternoon and directed the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the government peace panel to cancel peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).
“While we agreed to resume peace talks with the aforementioned group and exerted our best efforts to accelerate the signing and implementation of the final peace agreement, the NDF-CPP-NPA has engaged in acts of violence and hostilities,” he said.
According to Roque, Duterte had always wanted the talks to continue,
but the communist group “failed to show its sincerity.”
“We find it unfortunate that their members have failed to show their sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peaceful negotiations,” Roque said.
“The President, as we all know, has always wanted to leave a legacy of peace under his administration. He has, in fact, walked the extra mile for peace. Rest assured that he will continuously pray that we may all find the peace that we seek for our beloved country in the fullness of God’s time,” he added.
The Palace issued the statement after CPP founder Jose Maria Sison accused Duterte of being the top terrorist in the Philippines, saying the he is responsible for the “mass murder” of drug suspects.
The government also cancelled peace negotiations with the communist rebels in line with Duterte’s order.
Over the weekend, the President said he was no longer inclined to resume peace talks with the communist group, whose members he branded as “terrorists” and “criminals.”
On Wednesday, Duterte said he would tag all so-called “legal fronts” of the NPA as criminals and have them arrested for conspiracy.
The NDFP, meanwhile, has put the blame on Duterte for the failure of the peace talks.
“President Duterte bears full responsibility for the failure of the talks on social and economic reforms because of his sudden turn-around and heightened hostility to the revolutionary forces and the people,” the group said.
The President halted talks with the rebels in July following a series of attacks by the NPA, against government forces. He said he would not resume the talks unless the rebels stopped their extortion activities.
The fifth round of talks brokered by Norway was suspended on May 27 after the government panel withdrew from the negotiating table in response to the communist group’s order to guerrillas to intensify attacks against security forces.