Latest News for Philippine Defense

Govt ends peace talks, NDF blames Duterte

The government on Wednesday canceled its peace talks with communists because of continued atrocities by the rebel group, particularly in the countryside.

Secretary Jesus Dureza, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said the cancellation was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to end all planned meetings with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army-National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).

“Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President’s recent announcements and declarations,” Dureza said in a press statement.

“This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them,” the Secretary also said.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza talks with stakeholders in the peace talks with communist rebels. (OPAPP Photo)

According to Dureza, the President has taken unprecedented steps and has walked the extra mile just to bring peace but to no avail. He said the CPP and its armed elements had not shown reciprocity.

He said the peace talks would only resume until the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government’s position becomes evident.

“We will closely watch the developments,” he said.

Dureza thanked the government of Norway for its strong support for the peace talks and also expressed regrets for this sudden turn of events.

“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,'” he added.

Meanwhile, the NDF said it viewed the cancellation with grave concern and blamed 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 NDF said.

It said Duterte’s sudden turn-about and unilateral cancellation anew of peace negotiations with the NDFP.  It was the third time in six months that the President obstructed the progress of the talks, it also said.

“His latest scuttling of the talks comes at a time when unprecedented advances have already been achieved in forging agreements on urgently needed socio-economic reforms to alleviate mass poverty and resolve the roots of the armed conflict,” the statement said.

Four days ago, the government and NDF negotiating panels initialed draft documents reflecting substantial agreements on agrarian reform and rural development, and on national industrialization and economic development.

The drafts included potentially significant reforms to benefit millions of Filipinos. These include the free distribution of land to tillers, farmers, farmworkers, agricultural workers and fisherfolks.#