29 May 2017

News Story: Government panel suspends peace talks with Reds

New People’s Army (NPA) rebels
By Jose Rodel Clapano and Christina Mendez 

MANILA, Philippines - Peace negotiations between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) were suspended anew yesterday due to the continuous attacks by rebel forces against government troops in the countryside.

Presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza said the government peace panel would not participate in the scheduled fifth round of peace talks unless the CPP ensures that it can stop its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), from launching offensives.

Two civilian auxiliary officers were wounded yesterday in an attack by suspected NPA guerrillas in Bukidnon.

The fifth round of talks was set from May 27 to June 1 in Noordwijk in the Netherlands.

This was the second time that the peace talks hit a snag. In February, President Duterte suspended the talks after the NPA violated the unilateral ceasefire and launched attacks which killed several soldiers and police officers.

NDF senior adviser Luis Jalandoni first told journalists that the government panel had cancelled the talks.

Jalandoni said the government cited the continuing NPA offensives for calling off the talks. “But they did not mention the concrete reality on the ground that requires the NPA to defend the people on the ground,” he said.

Dureza and government peace panel chairman Silvestre Bello III denied Jalandoni’s claims, saying the government will wait for the CPP-NDF to recall the NPA offensives before they would return to the peace table.

“We are not cancelling the peace talks. We are waiting for the recall of the NPA intensified attacks,” Dureza said.

Read the full story at PhilStar