MANILA -- Local government units (LGUs) could still push their peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) despite the signing of Proclamation No. 360, which declares the termination of the national government's talks with the rebel groups, Malacañang said.
"We have local autonomy, so the peace talks can proceed on a local level if the local government units should want or desire to proceed," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a press briefing Monday.
He was referring to Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's intention to continue the peace talks with the communist group locally, even as negotiations on the national level were terminated.
Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte felt betrayed by the CPP-NPA-NDF, as he had close relations with them in Davao.
The spokesperson pointed out that the President even appointed some of the Reds' comrades in key government positions and supported left-leaning party-list groups in his hometown during the elections.
He added Duterte was sincere in negotiating peace with the communists.
The termination of peace talks stemmed from the death of a four-month-old infant, who was killed in a police vehicle ambush by the NPA in Talakag, Bukidnon, despite the resumed peace talks.
The NPA claimed the act was not intentional, but the President stressed that the act of ambush had the intention to kill.
Duterte even said he was considering enlisting the communist rebels as terrorists due to the act. (PNA)