Norway, the third-party facilitator of the peace talks between the government and communist insurgents in the Phillipines, has agreed that formal negotiations will be terminated, presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said Wednesday.
Deles said Norway also acknowledged that the special track initiated by the communist group had already been “killed” by the National Democratic Front.
“In our discussion with our Norwegian facilitator [Ambassador Ture Lundh] last month when he was here in Manila, we mutually established that the NDF killed the special track that they had themselves proposed and that we are not going back to the regular track [formal peace negotiations] which is going nowhere,” Deles said.
The formal peace talks have been stalled since February 2011, while the special track bogged down early this year.
Deles said the “new approach” being formulated by the government “will offer a better chance” of bringing peace.
Without giving any details, government chief negotiator Alexander Padilla said the new approach will be “time-bound and agenda-bound.”
Padilla also reiterated the need for a ceasefire agreement. “They should put an end to the senseless violence they are inflicting on our people especially on innocent civilians,” he added.
NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni accused the Aquino administration of “acting irresponsibly” in issuing “bellicose statements” on the termination of the peace negotiations.
Jalandoni also rejected the government’s appeal for a ceasefire agreement, which he said was being used as a precondition for “the capitulation or surrender” of the NDF and the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
Close to 400 people have died in atrocities and clashes related to communist insurgency since 2011.
Of the 383 fatalities, 158 were civilians while the rest were soldiers, policemen and government militias.