MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday confirmed the termination of the appointments of government peace negotiators with communist rebels "in view of the termination of the peace negotiations" with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed the termination letters “by order of the President” on March 18.

“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 Peace, Reconciliation and Unity,” the letter read.

Among those whose appointment papers were terminated include that of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III who served as the chairperson of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines GRP) panel.

Other GRP members whose appointment have been terminated are Antonio Arellano, Hernani Braganza, Angela Librado-Trinidad and Rene Sarmiento.

The termination of their appointment as government’s peace negotiators is “effective immediately”.

A series of attacks staged by the NPA rebels against government troops and civilians have prompted Duterte to terminate the peace talks with CPP-NPA which have been declared by the US and European Union as a terrorist organization.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said the termination will pave the way for the creation of an inclusive panel that will supervise localized peace negotiations.

“The discontinuance of the services of the members of the GRP panel is in line with the termination of peace talks with the NDFP (National Democratic Front Panel). But we will reconstitute the panel at a national scope in accordance with the whole-of-nation approach. We are advocating to achieve inclusive and sustainable peace,” Galvez said in a statement.

In December 2018, Duterte issued EO 70 which institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in attaining peace and created a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. (PNA)