Gov’t dismantles peace panel

By Genalyn Kabiling

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.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea (Malacañang Photo Bureau / MANILA BULLETIN)
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea (Malacañang Photo Bureau / MANILA BULLETIN)

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 (s.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 read.

“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 the Palace.

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.