MILITANT groups said peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front should continue, despite both parties' termination of their respective unilateral ceasefire declarations.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Northern Mindanao spokesperson Wildon Barros said it is one thing to drop the ceasefire while another thing for the peace talks itself will collapse.
Barros said although both may have contributed to the collapse of the peace talks, he said the government should bear the heavier burden since it reneged on its promise of freeing all political prisoners.
"Ever since nga nag-withdraw kining duha, nibalik nasad dayon ang friction (The two withdrew, the friction came back). Ang naa gyuy lapse ang government, kay napsaligan man ang NPA nga irelease ang political prisoners, subay sa (The government has the lapse because they promised the NPA to release the political prisoners, in accordance to) Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees ug (and) Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, pero hangtod karon wala natuman (but until now it's not fulfilled)," Barros said.
Barros added that since day one of the unilateral ceasefire, the government troops have continuously invaded communities and increasingly pushing rebel fighters to the wall.
Women's group Gabrielae expressed regret with the failure of peace negotiations under the Duterte administration.
Gabriela-Northern Mindanao coordinator Rhodora Bolusan said so much has been achieved just for the year 2016 alone and added that they are saddened that all of these development will be stalled once again.
Bolusan said both parties should learn to compromise since the peace talks is not for the government or for the rebels, but for all the people.
"Subo kita kay aduna napud panagsangka nga mahitabo, ug kahibalo gyud kita nga base sa experience, ang grabe nga maapektuhan niini walay lain kundi ang katawhan. Unta na bisan na-withdraw na ang ceasefire, padayon lang gihapon unta ang peace talks ug makab-ot na ang kalinaw na atong gipangandoy sa una pang panahon (We are sad because of what happened and we know that based on experience, people would be greatly affected by this. Hopefully, even if the ceasefire has been withdrew, the peace talks will still continue to achieve the peace we have all been longing for)," Bolusan said.
For Iglesia Filipina Independiente church Bishop Felixberto Calang, the termination diminishes the significant agreement signed and the high level of optimism that we saw in the third round of talks in Rome, Italy.
Calang, who is also the convenor of Sowing the Seeds of Peace in Mindanao said, he believes it is still possible for the negotiations to continue even if "armed skirmishes will serve as a thorny backdrop to the talks, as this had been the prevailing condition under the Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo governments."
"We believe it is realistic at this juncture to note that until the roots of the armed conflict are resolved, the conditions for hostilities to flare are ever present. And this, we believe, is a matter that both negotiating panels can competently tackle as the talks progress," he said.
"As it is, the agenda for comprehensive social and economic reforms is already being sidestepped and muddled by military issues. The signing of the SER and its dutiful implementation is our hope that peace that is lasting and just will be achieved," Calang said.
Calang said the fate of the peace talks should not be primarily driven by the security sector.
"We remain hopeful in the belief that President Duterte wants to leave a legacy of peace under his presidency and that he wants a departure from the hawkish strategies adopted by previous administrations. In relation to this, we believe it is important that the voice and the welfare of the people be the primordial consideration and the ultimate end of the talks," he said.
Calang said the release of political prisoners should be worked out to focus on Social and Economic Reforms and Political and Constitutional Reforms, and discussions for a bilateral ceasefire can continue.