Philippine president terminates peace talks with leftist rebels

Friday, 2019-03-22 10:25:06
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on March 21 that his administration has no more plans to talk peace with the leftist rebels, adding he will leave the matter to his successor.

"I am officially announcing the permanent termination of our talks between the government peace panel and the Communist Party of the Philippines," Duterte said in his speech at the 122nd anniversary of the Philippine Army.

He added, "I am no longer entertaining any interventions or maybe persuasions in this democratic state of the Republic of the Philippines."

He advised the rebels to just talk peace to his successor. "My sense is that maybe you can talk to the next president of this republic one day," Duterte said.

Already, Duterte has dissolved a government panel negotiating peace with the leftist rebels. He sent letters dated March 18 to the members of the panel chaired by Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to inform them that their appointments have been terminated.

"To ensure uninterrupted delivery of public service, you are hereby directed to turn over all official documents, papers and properties in your possession to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity," the letter read.

In November 2017, Duterte formally terminated the government's peace negotiation with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).

He said the rebels "failed to show its sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peace negotiations as it's engaged in acts of violence and hostilities."

The rebels have been trying to overthrow the government since 1969. The conflict peaked in the 1980s, under the repressive government of Ferdinand Marcos.

However, military operation coupled with an internal split crippled the underground organization. The number of guerrillas dwindled from 26,000 in the mid-1980s to less than 4,000, according to Philippine military estimates.

The military still considers the rebel forces a threat to national security, adding that an "all-out war" is necessary to deal a fatal blow to the rebels who refused to talk peace with the Duterte administration.