Davao City Aborts local talks with rebels

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines— The Davao City government has aborted the localized negotiation between the local government and New People’s Army (NPA) two days after President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared the rebel groups as terrorists.

In a press briefing, Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio explained that members of Davao City Local Peace Committee (DC-PEACE) decided to discontinue the negotiations with the rebels since it is the policy of the government not to talk with the terrorists. “The policy of the government is to never negotiate with terrorists,” she said.

Duterte-Carpio said the declaration of President Duterte is ‘very sensitive’ because of the stipulation of Republic Act No. 10168, “The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.” “You will be put in sensitive and dangerous situation if you talk to a terrorist because you will be labelled as sympathizers or supporters of terrorists. Therefore, you will be included on the list,” she said.

The mayor said that she is saddened with the cancelation of the talk with the rebels because there were efforts coming from the city government to discuss peace. However, Duterte-Carpio clarified that the pursuit for peace in the city will continue as the local peace committee will talk with the communities having presence of NPA.

“What we will do is talk to the communities about the issues in their community, not with rebels in the area” she said.

Duterte-Carpio said the executive order on the constitution of DC-PEACE will be superseded with a new order changing its name to Davao City Advisory Committee for Peace and Development (DC-PEACE DEV). “The committee will be the ones who will talk to the communities,” she added. Under the new order, the members of the DC-PEACE will remain on the new DC-PEACE DEV.-Armando B. Fenequito Jr.

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