Dureza: No talks with Reds anymore

(UPDATED) The government will no longer negotiate with the communists, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza said on Wednesday, November 22.

"We are hereby announcing today the cancellation of all planned meetings with the CPP/NPA/NDF in line with President Duterte's directive that there will be no more peace talks with them," Dureza said in a statement Wednesday, November 22. CPP/NPA/NDF stands for Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, New People's Army, and political arm, National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

"There will be no peace negotiations anymore with the CPP/NPA/NDF until such time as the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government's position becomes evident," he added.



Dureza's announcement was made a day after President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that he has decided to "cut talks" with the communists.

In his statement, Dureza noted that "President Duterte has taken unprecedented steps and has walked the so-called extra mile to bring peace."

"However, the communist party and its armed elements have not shown reciprocity," he added.

In an interview in Taguig City on Tuesday night, the President said he sees no reason for reviving the peace dialogue with the communists.

Duterte also said he has directed Executive Salvador Medialdea and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo to produce a document that will terminate the peace talks and categorize the communists as terrorists.

"It's not an entity anymore worth talking to," said Duterte in an interview.

Dureza said the government peace panel would abide by Duterte's directive, believing that the President was left with no choice but to arrive at such decision because of "recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels."

"We take guidance from the President's recent announcements and declarations," he said.

"This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them," he added.

This was not the first time the peace negotiations between the government and the communist party was cancelled.

Duterte also postponed the dialogue between the two parties that were scheduled in February and in May.

But the latest development was in light of Duterte's flip-flopping remark on the possible revival of peace negotiations.

The government has yet to serve a formal notice of termination of talks.

According to Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, peace talks can only be terminated upon written notice given by one party to the other. It is deemed terminated “30 days after the receipt of the notice of termination.”

Dureza, who remained hopeful of resumption of talks with communists, expressed optimism that Duterte's order was merely "temporary."

He said he was looking forward to the time that the government would open its door anew for the communists, once "environment conducive to a change in the government's position becomes evident."

"Despite this setback -- hopefully only temporary -- we remain steadfast and undeterred in our unrelenting journey for sustainable and just peace. I now call on everyone: 'Let's all stay the course together,'" Dureza added. (SunStar Philippines)
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