MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo's office denied on Tuesday that it was holding peace talks with the communist National Democratic Front, contrary to reports spreading on a social media.
Peace talks are "crucial in resolving this decades long conflict" and "must be conducted through official, formal channels" which the Office of the Vice President (OVP) is not part of, said its spokesman Barry Gutierrez.
This has been the "consistent position" of the OVP despite "hysterical claims in fake news posts being spread aggressively on social media," Gutierrez saiid.
"The Office of the Vice President is not engaged, and has no intention of engaging, in direct peace negotiations with the NDF," he said in a statement.
Sen. Bong Go, in a chance interview on Dec. 11, said Robredo had no authority to negotiate with the NDF and that this power lied with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Go "would do well to ensure that next time, he first checks that any 'news' he is reacting to is true and accurate, and not based on some troll's rantings on YouTube," said Gutierrez.
Peace talks between the government and communist rebels deteriorated in 2017 due to alleged continuing rebel attacks on state troops. In November that year, the President signed a proclamation declaring the termination of peace negotiations.
A resumption of the peace talks scheduled in late June 2018 was canceled as the government sought to review all agreements the communists signed with past administrations.
In December 2018, Duterte ordered the creation of a national task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”
The government also sought the declaration of the communist movement as a terrorist group.
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