Palace: Peace talks 'not scuttled' amid lifting of truce

MALACAÑANG on Saturday was confident that the ongoing peace negotiation between the government and the communist leaders was not thwarted, despite the revocation of unilateral ceasefire between the two parties.

In a statement released on Friday night, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella lamented the apparent "disconnect" between the National Democratic Front (NDF) leaders talking to the government's peace panel and the New People Army (NPA) operating on the ground.

"Some progress had already been made during the third round of peace talks in Rome, but apparently, there is some disconnect between dissident leaders negotiating at the table and their forces on the ground," Abella said.

"It would be deeply regrettable that the otherwise positive developments now might have to be set aside," he added.

The NDF is the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) tasked to deal with the government in crafting an enabling law that would serve just and lasting peace in embattled Mindanao.

The NPA, on the other hand, is the CPP's armed wing instructed to protect the communist group's territory.

Despite the ongoing peace talks, the NPA announced that it would lift its unilateral ceasefire with the government on February 10. This prompted President Duterte to also terminate the government's truce with the NPA.

Duterte resented that peace was not achievable under his term.

"[War], it will not end. Fine. But let it not be said that I did not try. So I guess that peace with the communists cannot be realized during our generation many years from now," the President said in a speech delivered on Friday.

Abella, however, said that it may be difficult to attain peace in the region but it could still be achieved as it has "not yet been scuttled."

"Despite the untenable circumstances on the ground, the peace talks have not yet been scuttled. The road to peace is not an easy journey," Abella said. (SunStar Philippines)

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