Duterte dismantles peace panel negotiating with Reds
President Rodrigo Duterte has dismantled the five-man government peace panel tasked to negotiate with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front.
Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, wrote separate letters to panel chairman Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and panel members Rene Sarmiento, Angela Librado-Trinidad, Hernani Braganza and Antonio Arellano regarding the termination of their services.
The letters were dated March 18, copies of which were released on Wednesday to the public.
"In view of the termination of the peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF pursuant to Proclamation No. 360 (s. 2017), your appointment 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," Medialdea's letter to Bello read.
He directed all the peace panel members to turn over all official documents, papers and properties in their possession to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity.
Duterte unilaterally ended the peace process with the communist rebels when he issued Proclamation No. 360 in November 2017.
He made the decision due to the leftist rebels' continuous acts of violence and hostilities despite the peace process.
Shortly after the termination of the peace talks, Duterte also declared the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations. Celerina Monte/DMS