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Gov’t dissolves peace panel negotiating with communists

The government has dismantled its peace panel following the termination of the peace talks with the communist rebel group.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea sent letters to Labor Secretary and chief government negotiator Silvestre Bello III and other four other peace panel members terminating their services related to the peace efforts effectively immediately.

Malacañang has confirmed the existence of Medialdea’s letters dated March 18 to the government peace panel.

“In view of the termination of the peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front) pursuant to Proclamation No. 360 (Series 2017), your designation dated 18 August 2016 as Chairman of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF is hereby terminated effective immediately,” a copy of Medialdea’s letter to Bello said.

“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 the Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity,” it added.

Similar letters of termination were transmitted to panel members Rene Sarmiento, Angela Librado-Trinidad, Hernani Braganza, and Antonio Arellano, according to Malacanang.

In November 2017, President Duterte issued a proclamation declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the communist rebel group.

The proclamation noted that despite the government’s best efforts, the communist group failed to show sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine peace talks amid its involvement in acts of violence and hostilities that endanger the lives and properties of innocent people. (Genalyn Kabiling)

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