Duterte orders peace panel to stop talks
with communists if ‘hostile’ acts continue

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the government peace panel not to resume the talks with the communists if the rebel group would not stop staging hostile activities in Mindanao, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

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In a statement released to media, the Palace said Duterte gave the instruction when he met with officials and members of the government peace panel in Malacañang on Tuesday night.

The Palace said Duterte held a meeting to discuss the possible signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement with communist rebels on the scheduled fifth round of talks in August.

“During their meeting held at Malacañan Palace, the President directed the government panel negotiating with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) not to resume formal peace talks unless the Reds agree to stop their attacks against government troops in Mindanao,” the Palace said.

It added that Duterte said the communist rebels should refrain from fighting the government troops in Mindanao.

“The Reds really need to stop engaging the military in Mindanao if they want to continue the peace negotiations, adding that the government has always dealt with the communist rebels in good faith,” the Palace said quoting Duterte.

Duterte said there would be no peace negotiations unless the communist group stopped collecting revolutionary taxes.

The fifth round of talks between the government peace panel and the NDF consultants was initially set from May 27 to June 1 but was cancelled due to “serious challenges” faced by both parties.

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