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President Rodrigo Duterte cancels peace talks with communist rebels

25 November 2017

Dureza said the national government was terminating the talks after the failure of the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army, in reciprocating peace overtures from the president.

President Duterte has signed Proclamation No. 360 to officially terminate the government's peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).

These reasons were: the government's rejection of the offer of the communist movement to help the military in fighting the Maute group in Marawi City; participation of USA troops in the battle against the Maute group "in which the NPA in Mindanao will also be affected;" and the cancellation of the fifth round of formal peace talks.

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

"Even if you talk for a thousand years, we can never reconcile our values", Duterte said.

He said Duterte had taken unprecedented steps and had walked the extra mile to bring 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.

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According to Roque, Duterte had always wanted the talks to continue, but the communist group "failed to show their sincerity".

Luis Jalandoni, the former NDF chief negotiator accused Duterte of being a "saboteur" because of his decision to abruptly cancel the peace talks.

The NDFP is the political arm of the CPP.

Malacañang last Thursday said they will clarify Duterte's order with the OPAPP, including the issuance of the formal notice of the cancellation of the peace talks.

Sison lamented that before Duterte's diatribe, the government and the rebel negotiating panels had already spent several months of hard work in uni- lateral and bilateral meetings and were "ready to do a little polishing of common drafts" on November 22 and 23 in Utretch for finalization in the slated fifth round of formal talks in Oslo, Norway on November 25 to 27.

"I will remove them from the category of a legal entity or at least a semi-movement, which would merit our attention, placing them as terrorists", he said.

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"It is in this spirit that we appeal to the government to reconsider its plan to categorize the NPA as a terrorist organization", said the church leaders.

"I told the soldiers to prepare for a long war".

CPP, instead, insisted to resume the fifth round of peace negotiations.

"That is why I said in the previous days, I can not give you what I don't own and certainly a coalition with the Republic of the Philippines is pure nonsense".

Sison said Duterte should have submitted to the Joint Monitoring Committing (JMC), through the government peace panel his complaints as NDFP did for violations on human rights and global humanitarian law committed by government forces. He said temporary freedom of the communist consultants through the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Gaurantees (JASIG) became void after the cancellation of the peace talks. If one party does not stick to the agreement, it will be very hard to restore the trust.

But if both want peace, Jumoad said they have to go back to the negotiation table and talk.

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"The President has his own basis and he independently made this decision which stemmed from the feedback he had received from different agencies [and] not just from the military, but from police and local government units (LGU) as well", he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte cancels peace talks with communist rebels