Duterte Dissolves Government Panel Negotiating Peace With Leftist Rebels

MANILA, Philippines, March 21 (NNN-PNA) – Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, dissolved the government panel, negotiating peace with leftist rebels, driving another nail into the coffin of peace talks between the Duterte administration and the insurgents.

The panel was chaired by Philippine Labour Secretary, Silvestre Bello. In letters addressed to Bello and the four panel members, dated March 18, the Office of the President said, their appointments are now terminated, since Duterte already ordered the scrapping of the talks in Nov, 2017.

The letters, signed by Philippine Executive Secretary, Salvador Medialdea, said, “by order of the president” the termination of their designation is “effective immediately.”

“To ensure uninterrupted delivery of public service, you are hereby directed to turn over all official documents, papers and properties in your possession, to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity,” the letter read.

In Nov, 2017, Duterte formally terminated the government’s peace negotiation with leftist rebels. He said, the leftist rebels “failed to show its sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peace negotiations, as its engaged in acts of violence and hostilities.”

The leftist rebels have been trying to overthrow the government since 1969. The conflict peaked in the 1980’s, under the repressive government of Ferdinand Marcos.

However, military operation, coupled with an internal split, crippled the underground organisation. The number of guerrillas dwindled from 26,000 in the mid-1980’s to less than 4,000, according to military estimates.

The military still considers the rebel forces a threat to national security, adding that, an “all-out war” is necessary to deal a fatal blow to the rebels, who refused to talk peace with the Duterte administration.– NNN-PNA