Duterte reiterates directive to hold localized peace talks
President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his order to concerned government agencies to conduct localized peace talks with the communist rebels.
This was Duterte's directive during his command conference with the security officials in Malacanang on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a press briefing on Thursday, said this was the information relayed to him by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon regarding what was discussed during the command conference.
"Secretary Lorenzana and also Secretary Esperon told me that they (discussed) localized peace talks, the concentration was (on that issue)," he said.
He said Duterte has been encouraging this scheme than peace negotiations being conducted by national officials with the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army.
Duterte terminated the formal peace talks with the Maoist group in November 2017.
Panelo said the supposed backchannel talks with the leftist group was not discussed during the command conference.
Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) member Avelino "Billy" Andal earlier claimed that Duterte tasked him to conduct backchannel talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF for the possible resumption of the peace talks.
But other Cabinet officials denied that Andal was authorized to hold the backchannel talks. Celerina Monte/DMS