Philippine Goverment Cancels Communist Peace Talks

Frederick Owens
July 21, 2017

Presidential spokesmen Ernesto Abella said the administration "has shown in numerous occasions its strong commitment to bring peace" and that "it is time for the (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines) to reciprocate the government's gestures of goodwill by ending their extortion and criminal activities and re-directing their energy to help eradicate terrorism and violent extremism in Mindanao".

"I am announcing the cancellation of backchannel talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF originally set within the next few days in Europe due to recent developments involving attacks done by the NPAs", Dureza said in a statement.

At least four members of the PSG were injured in the clash.

Government officials said the PSG personnel, who were doing "normal administrative movement for coordination", encountered some 50 NPA rebels disguising as soldiers at a checkpoint in Arakan town, Cotabato province.

Meanwhile, Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said the President's chopper landed even as troops were launching a daring assault from the other end of Mapandi Bridge - site of one of the fiercest gun battle in downtown Marawi.

The communist rebels admitted they staged the checkpoint, and that the firefight occurred because the passengers of the unmarked armored vehicle refused to open the doors.

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After a briefing, Hererra said the President gave out some goods and watches to the troops, further boosting the morale of government forces in the Islamic city.

The government said the fifth round of formal talks may resume next month, saying government negotiators plan to meet informally to decide on the details of the next round of formal talks.

Operations were underway to pursue the rebels, who withdrew toward another village.

The US provided assistance, for instance, in the military's operations against terrorists in Marawi.

The president has asked lawmakers to allow him to extend martial law over the south until the end of the year to deal with the militant threat but critics fear this would edge the country closer to dictatorship.

The Communist Party of the Philippines had responded to the extension Tuesday, accusing Duterte of laying the foundations for dictatorship and assaulting the rights of Filipinos "under USA imperialist tutelage".

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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