Thursday, July 27, 2017

Palace: No formal termination of peace talks with Reds yet

From GMA News (Jul 26): Palace: No formal termination of peace talks with Reds yet

Despite his pronouncement on the issue, President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to formally terminate government's peace negotiations with communist rebels, MalacaƱang said Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a briefing however that even without a formal written notice, Duterte is firm with his decision to stop negotiating with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the negotiating arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

As has been previously agreed, the peace talks can only be terminated upon written notice given by one party to the other.

"Officially there’s none (written notice)," Abella said.

Duterte pulled the government panel out of the peace talks after New People's Army rebels ambushed a President Security Group convoy in Cotabato while backchannel talks for the planned fifth round of negotiations were in progress.

"You could say that at this particular stage, those are his directives," Abella said. "Unless otherwise."

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who heads the government panel negotiating with the NDFP, told reporters on Tuesday night that they should write to their counterparts about their intention to formally end the talks.

"It will take effect 30 days after they receive the letter," he said.

Bello said they would write the notice of termination only upon the instructions of the President.

Duterte on Friday reminded NDFP peace consultants who have been temporarily released to participate in the talks - to return to their detention cell now that the talks are being terminated.

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