No talks with Reds; no open-pit mining – DU30 » Manila Bulletin News

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By Fred M. Lobo

Fred M. Lobo

President Dutertehas ordered the cancellation of planned meetings between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Peace negotiations with communist rebels scrapped, the Punisher said.

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The President likewise rejected calls for the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining in the country.

“It is destroying the soil and the environment.” DU30 said.

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Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said that recent violent incidents committed by the Communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to scrap planned meetings and peace talks.

“This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them,”Dureza added.

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Duterte formally announced the cancellation of the peace talks with the local Communists last Tuesday night, with the full support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), led by Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

“I have decided to cut talks with the NPAs,” Duterte declared.

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“You tell the guys there in the Netherlands: I am no longer available for any official talk. Let’s just go to war,” Duterte said Tuesday, referring to rebel leaders living in exile in Europe.

End of the line or temporary setback?

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“There will be no peace negotiations anymore with the CPP-NPA-NDF until such time as the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government’s position becomes evident… We will closely watch the developments,” Dureza added.

Hoping for better days to come.

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“We have expressed our deep gratitude to the Royal Norwegian government for its strong support as we also expressed to their officials our regrets for this turn of events,” Durezzaadded.

Sorry for now, friends.

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Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, said this could lead to the possibility of non-declaration of the traditional Christmas truce this year.

“This time, we will continue our normal combat patrol and anti-insurgency operations,” Carlos said.

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Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said that in keeping with the President’s guidance, the Department of National Defense (DND) and the AFP will continue to vigorously pursue operations against the Communists.

“We strongly suggest to the NPA to lay down their arms, surrender, return to society, and be part of the real change espoused by the national leadership,” Lorenzana said.

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But Dureza said that “despite this setback , we remain steadfast and undeterred in our unrelenting journey for sustainable and just peace… Let’s all stay the course together.”

The light of peace flickers for now. But hope springs eternal, he said.

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Duterte said he rejected the recommendation of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) to lift the ban on open-pit mining because it is “destroying the soil and the environment and no corrective measure is immediately implemented.”

Translation: Check first environmental destruction and greed.

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