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Duterte formally terminates peace talks with Reds

Roque said Duterte has also ordered the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and government negotiators to cancel peace talks and meetings with the communists.

MANILA, Philippines (First published at 11:28 p.m. on Nov. 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte formally terminated negotiations with communists Thursday, citing the rebels' supposed failure to display sincerity to the peace process.

"This is to announce that the President signed this afternoon, November 23, Proclamation 360 declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines – The New People’s Army," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

Duterte, who has repeatedly expressed readiness to wage war against the communist rebels, scrapped the moribund talks through Proclamation No. 360, Roque said.

"While we agreed to resume peace talks with the aforementioned group and exerted our best efforts to accelerate the signing and implementation of the final peace agreement, the NDF-CPP-NPA has engaged in acts of violence and hostilities," he said.

The NDF is the negotiating arm of the communist movement while the CPP is its political arm.

The NPA, which has earned the ire of Duterte for staging attacks that killed civilians, serves as the armed wing of the rebels.

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"We find it unfortunate that their members have failed to show their sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peaceful negotiations," he added.

It was unclear if the proclamation also made good on Duterte's threat to categorize communist rebels as terrorists.

A copy of the proclamation was not yet available as of Thursday night.

Duterte previously sent mixed signals on the peace negotiations with the Maoist guerillas.

He would express readiness to talk to the insurgents after declaring that peace negotiations with them are just a "waste of money."

Roque said Duterte has also ordered the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and government negotiators to cancel peace talks and meetings with the communists.

"The President, as we all know, has always wanted to leave a legacy of peace under his administration.

He has, in fact, walked the extra mile for peace," Roque said.

"Rest assured that he will continuously pray that we may all find the peace that we seek for our beloved country in the fullness of God’s time," he added.

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