Reds respect Duterte’s termination of gov’t peace panel
LUCENA CITY – President Duterte has the right to terminate the appointment of government peace negotiators with the communist insurgents, according to the rebel’s chief peace negotiator.
“It’s the prerogative of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) to choose the members of its negotiating panel to the GRP-NDFP peace talks,” Fidel Agcaoili, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chair, said in a short solicited reaction from his base in Utrecht, The Netherlands on Thursday night.
“But the GRP should be wise enough to choose those who are willing or committed to address the roots of the armed conflict in order to attain a just and lasting peace as Secretary Bello has shown in the long years that he has been a consultant, member and then chairperson of the GRP panel since 1994,” he said.
The NDFP is the umbrella group of all communist-led underground organizations in the country that has been conducting on-and-off peace talks with the government since 1986.
Agcaoili issued the statement after President Duterte terminated the appointment of all government peace negotiators following the collapse of the peace talks with the Maoist-inspired rebels.
Aside from Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III as chairman of the government’s peace negotiating panel, Mr. Duterte also ended the appointment of Rene Sarmiento, Antonio Arellano, Angela Librado-Trinidad, and Hernani Braganza as members of the peace panel.
The peace talks collapsed in November 2017 after the President signed Proclamation No. 360 formally terminating the discussions with the communist rebels.
The President accused the Communist Party of the Philippines of insincerity and denounced its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels for its continued attacks on government forces that also victimized civilians.
However, the NDFP maintained that it was still open to the possible resumption of the peace talks.
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