President Rodrigo Duterte announced Thursday that he has permanently ended peace negotiations between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“I am officially announcing the permanent termination of our talks between the government panel and the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Duterte said at the122nd Philippine Army Founding Anniversary at Fort Andres Bonifacio in Manila.
He said he is no longer entertaining any interventions or moves to persuade him to change his mind.
“You can maybe talk to the next President of this Republic, one day,” he said.
The announcement comes a day after Malacañang terminated the services of its peace panel members, including chief government negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Joma Sison: His mind is set
Jose Maria Sison, CPP’s founder, said Duterte is like an “old broken record” for repeating what he said when he signed Proclamation No. 360 in 2017.
“Since then, what Duterte has been doing is merely driving more nails into the coffin of the peace negotiations,” he said.
Sison said he is using the armed conflict against communists to justify the extensions of martial law in Mindanao.
However, the National Democratic Front (NDF) — the umbrella organization representing communist rebels in the peace talks — is also not closing its doors.
“Negotiations can be resurrected in the future by a new administration. In that regard, Duterte is correct. The peace negotiations are dead as far as he’s concerned,” he explained. “His mind is set.”
Talks were shelved in November 2017 after government and the CPP accused each other of violating announced ceasefires. Duterte meanwhile, is pushing for localized talks with communist rebels.
A bid aiming to tag the CPP and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) as a terrorist group is still pending before the court.