MANILA, Philippines — Peace negotiations with communist rebels are unlikely in 2018 because of the rebels’ “treachery,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Thursday.
“Dahil nga po sa katraydoran nila, baka malabo na po iyan (Because of their treachery, talks are unlikely),” Roque said when asked about prospects of resuming the negotiations President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered terminated.
Duterte also issued a proclamation designating the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations.
However, Roque said the government was optimistic about forging a lasting peace with Moro rebels.
Roque claimed the government has stuck to its word through the peace process with the communists.
“Hayaan na natin ang mga NPA na ipakita ang tunay nilang anyo na mga traydor. Pero ang mandato po ng Presidente, tuloy pa rin ang ceasefire para sa Bagong Taon (Let us leave the NPA to unmask their treacherous nature. But the mandate of the President is to observe the ceasefire until the New Year),” he said in a radio interview.
Duterte earlier declared a suspension of offensive military operations from December 24 to January 2, although Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced a two-stage ceasefire, on December 23 to 26, and December 30 to January 2.
The rebels also declared their own ceasefire following the DND timeframe.