MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday again threatened the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that peace talks will be called off if one more soldier dies at the hands of the New People's Army (NPA).
Speaking in front of soldiers in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur, Duterte warned "that if one more soldier of the Armed Forces dies or gets hurt, then they should forget the peace talks."
Duterte is particularly incensed by the rebels' use of landmines.
''The conduct of war dictates that you don't use land mines, especially that some soldiers are living with their families in camps,'' he said.
As a sign of goodwill, Duterte last July 25 declared a unilateral ceasefire, only to revoke it days later after the communists failed to reciprocate.
The president has since been issuing biting comments against communist party leaders, particularly its founder Jose Maria Sison.
But CPP leadership has not been cowed by Duterte's warnings and has scored the commander-in-chief for pandering to the military and failing to free political prisoners.
The bellicose rhetoric could jeopardize efforts to end the world’s longest-running Maoist insurgency that has claimed 30,000 lives since the 1960s.