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Duterte signs proclamation terminating peace talks with Reds

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the proclamation declaring the termination of peace talks with the communist rebels, Malacañang announced Thursday night.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360, terminating the peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).

According to Roque, Duterte has also directed the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Panel for Peace Talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP to cancel peace talks and meetings with the communist rebels. 

“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 NDFP-CPP-NPA has engaged in acts of violence and hostilities,” Roque said.

“We find it unfortunate that their members have failed to show their sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peaceful negotiations,” he added.

“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,” Roque added.

A copy of the proclamation was not immediately available to the media.

In speeches last February and July, Duterte said he no longer wants to talk peace with communist rebels. No proclamation was signed back then. 

Proclamation No. 360 was signed a day after the OPAPP announced that the Philippine government was ending its peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said on Wednesday that talks could still be revived if both parties would reach an "enabling environment" for negotiations.

Also 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. — BAP, GMA News