MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the creation of a national task force that will seek the “end” the armed conflict involving communist rebels, according to a document released by the Palace Monday.
Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 on Dec. 4 ordering the creation of a national task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”
The EO also seeks to institutionalize the “whole-of-nation approach in inclusive and sustainable peace” and adopt a national peace framework.
“There is a need to create a national task force that will provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of the collective aspiration of the Filipino people to attain inclusive and sustainable peace,” the EO reads.
“Towards this end, the Government shall prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict-affected areas and -vulnerable communities, facilitate societal inclusivity, and ensure active participation of all sectors of society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.”
The President shall chair the task force, while the National Security Adviser shall serve as vice-chair.
The task force shall formulate and start to implement a whole-of-nation approach-driven national peace framework, in coordination with relevant national government agencies.
Duterte’s presidential bid was backed by communists due to his ties with Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison and other local leftist leaders.
However, ties soured between the two sides after Duterte accused communist rebels of continuing their attacks against government troops despite the ongoing peace talks.
Talks were repeatedly halted under Duterte. Another resumption was scheduled in late June but this was cancelled as the government sought to review all agreements entered into by the communists with past administrations.
The Duterte government then pushed for localized peace talks, but this was rejected by the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.