Gov't cancels backchannel talks with Reds due to recent NPA attacks


Posted at Jul 19 2017 06:03 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2017 03:58 AM

MANILA- The government has cancelled backchannel talks with communist rebels due to recent attacks perpetrated by the New People's Army (NPA).

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza in a statement Wednesday said there was a need to first ensure a "desired enabling environment" for the talks.

"I am announcing the cancellation of backchannel talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines- New People's Army- National Democratic Front) originally set within the next few days in Europe due to recent developments involving attacks done by the NPAs," Dureza said.

"The situation on the ground necessary to provide the desired enabling environment for the conduct of peace negotiations are still not present up to this time," he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night told the government peace panel negotiating with communist rebels that formal talks between the two sides would not resume until the NPA stops attacking government troops.

The decision came just before suspected NPA rebels attacked a convoy of the Presidential Security Group in Arakan town, North Cotabato Wednesday morning, shooting dead a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit and wounding four of Duterte's security men. 

The President made the decision during his meeting with members of the government peace panel, led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Government had suspended peace talks with the Left in May following a string of attacks against state forces.