Duterte ends designation of gov’t peace panel members

Pia Ranada
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III's designation as government peace panel chair ends more than a year after the formal scrapping of peace talks with the Left

GOVERNMENT PEACE PANEL NO MORE. President Rodrigo Duterte (left), with government peace panel members led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III (2nd, left). File photo from Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has ended the designation of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III as chairman of the government peace panel for negotations with communists.

The Palace did the same to government peace panel members Hernani Branganza, Rene Sarmiento, Antonio Arellano, and Angela Librado-Trinidad. This was relayed to them through letters signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, “by order of the President,” dated March 18.

The letters say the termination of their designation is “effective immediately.”

The Palace action drives another nail into the coffin of peace talks between the Duterte administration and the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the National Democratic Front.

The termination of Bello’s and Sarmiento’s roles were due to the formal scrapping of peace talks through President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 360.

Duterte ended talks with the Left in November 2017 after fuming over ambushes of military and police by the New People’s Army members, CPP’s armed wing.

Months later, he said he would only open the door to negotiations if the CPP promised not to impose revolutionary tax and attack government troops. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.