Duterte ready to formally end talks with Reds

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Duterte ready to formally end talks with Reds

President Rodrigo Duterte talks to the troops of Joint Task Force Sulu prior to his visit to wounded soldiers at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu on May 27, 2017. PCOO/Released, file

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is ready to sign a document formally scrapping the peace talks with communist rebels, saying the negotiations with them have been s just a “waste of time.”
Asked by the media Wednesday if the government has formally communicated plans to terminate the talks, Duterte said: “Give me a piece of paper. I will write it for you. Give it to them.”
The president added: “What do you intend to accomplish? It only ends up at name-calling and shouting. Don’t waste my time, I have so many things to do.”
Duterte announced plans to terminate the negotiations with the leftists after the Communist Party of the Philippines ordered its fighters to launch attacks against security forces enforcing martial law in Mindanao.  
Despite the pronouncement, officials said the president has not ordered them to send a formal notice canceling the talks.
The government was supposed to hold backchannel talks in July in preparation for formal negotiations this month. Those were canceled after a series of clashes between communist rebels and government forces, including an ambush on a convoy of the Presidential Security Group passing through Cotabato province.
The president lamented in May that he had tried to engage the communists in peace talks, but it seemed that they had been insincere.
Duterte has given several seats in his Cabinet to progressives identified with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, which follows the national democratic line.
He has also openly invited the communists to talk peace with him. However, despite these gestures from the president, the rebels have continued to stage attacks on government security forces and businesses and to collect “revolutionary taxes.”
Duterte on Wednesday appeared to be unaware of the need to issue a formal notice when he was interviewed by reporters.
“Is there any other protocol that I have to comply before it becomes final?” the president said when asked whether formal documents scrapping the negotiations have been signed.
Earlier Wednesday, the Communist Party of the Philippines said Duterte's tirades against its founder and senior National Democratic Front of the Philippines political consultant Jose Ma. Sison show the president "has completely embraced the counterrevolutionary anti-communist US line and abandoned all pretensions for being a Leftist." 

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