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PHL gov’t cancels talks with CPP-NPA-NDF

The Philippine government on Wednesday ended its peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said.

"We are hereby announcing today the cancellation of all planned meetings with the CPP/NPA/NDF in line with President Duterte's directive that there will be no more peace talks with them," he said in a statement.

"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," he added.

However, Dureza hinted that talks could still be revived if both parties would reach an "enabling environment" for negotiations.

"This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them. President Duterte has taken unprecedented steps and has walked the so-called extra mile to bring peace. However, the communist party and its armed elements have not shown reciprocity," he said.

"There will be no peace negotiations anymore with the CPP/NPA/NDF until such time as the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government's position becomes evident. We will closely watch the developments," he added.

Dureza also thanked the talks' third party facilitator, the Royal Norwegian Government.

"We have expressed our deep gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for its strong support as we also expressed to their officials our regrets for this turn of events," he said.

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

As of Wednesday afternoon, Dureza has yet to release a formal letter of termination.

Duterte on Tuesday night said that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and chief presidential legal counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo were studying a proclamation to terminate the talks with the left and tag the NPA as a terror group.

This was not the first time that Duterte had canceled talks with the Reds. He did so in February and in July.

In October, Duterte indicated that he would still want to talk to the NPA. — MDM, GMA News