Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday announced that he is severing any ties of talking peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) following an ambush which occurred in Bukidnon, north of Mindanao island in the Philippines, killing one police and a 4-month-old baby girl.
Making his announcement at an event which payed tribute to the fallen soldiers who were killed during the attack of ISIS-inspired Maute group in Marawi, Duterte did not mince his words when he lashed out at the CPP and called them “terrorists.”
The announcement came after the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP, ambushed police personnel in Bukidnon last November 9, leaving two people killed, including an infant, and six injured.
According to the Philippine president, he already instructed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza and Chief Government Negotiator Silvestre Bello III to terminate the talks.
“They ambushed the police in Mindanao. They even killed a four-month-old infant. You tell the guys there in Netherlands, I am no longer available for any official talk. Let’s just have war.”
The Philippine commander-in-chief continued his tirades and accused the CPP of extorting money from mining companies and other individuals.
“They collect tax from mining companies to fund their rebellion. They extort money from these mining companies. All mining companies are paying taxes to the NPA. That’s without exception. So we have to decide once and for all. If I go against the NPAs, the communists, well, everybody has to reconfigure your relationship with the NPAs.”
The peace talks between the government of the Philippines and the CPP were supposed to enter the fifth round in The Netherland after a hiatus when the former refused to return to the negotiating table last May. Had the fifth round happened, the two parties could have discussed the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, which is described as the “heart and soul” of the negotiations.
The CPP-NPA is waging a protracted war in the countryside for almost five decades now and is known as the longest-running insurgency in Asia. The CPP-NPA serves the interest of poor families and farmers in the countryside who have been victims of land grabbing and poor working conditions by their landlords.
Forwarding pro-people reforms, the CPP, together with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), is talking peace with the government of the Philippines as long as positive reforms will be meted out.
[Featured Image by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images]