Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo ( file photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo believes that the government can continue the peace negotiations with the Communists even without a ceasefire.

The vice president said that while the cancellation of talks is a “major setback” it is possible for the government to pursue the peace negotiations.

“Isa sa mga bagay na tingin ko the government was doing right was to pursue yung usapin tungkol sa kapayapaan, pero di naman ako nawawalan ng pag-asa, tingin ko ito ay setback lamang (One of the good things that the government was doing right was to pursue the peace negotiations, but hope is not lost, I think this is just a setback),” she told reporters at a press briefing in her office in Quezon City.

She said even if the Communist Party of the Philippines and the government terminated their respective ceasefire declarations, the talks could still continue.

“Sana ipagpatuloy yung usapin. Yung pag-declare ng pagwithdraw ng ceasefire from both sides of the fence, hindi naman yun yung katapusan. Kahit walang ceasefire pwede pa ring mag-usap,” she said.

(I hope they continue the talks. The declaration to withdraw the ceasefire from both sides of the fence is not the end. Even without the ceasefire the talks should continue.)

Robredo also reacted to the termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees saying it is a major issue.

She said the cancellation strips off the negotiators of the recognition that they are the ones who can represent the Party talking to the other.

Meanwhile, a non-government organization based in Mindanao also described President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to rearrest consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as a “big blow” to the peace process.

“Following the declaration of the NDF of the termination of the unilateral ceasefire, GRP also responded with its own declaration – not just to terminate the ceasefire but also to scrap the Talks.The Government has ordered the arrest of the recently-released NDF Consultants, dealing a big blow to the Peace Process,” said Charlito Manlupig, president of Balay Mindanaw in a statement Thursday.

Manlupig said there should be efforts to “protect the initial gains” from the peace negotiations.

He said the setbacks in the peace process are reminders that it does not “rely solely on the negotiators.”

“We appeal to the people to echo the trumpets of peace and not the drums of war in social media and be knowledgeable with the whole decades-old peace processes in the country,” he said.

He added that the people must engage actively in the call to resume the peace talks.

The president lifted the unilateral ceasefire by the government on Friday, Feb. 3 in response to the announcement of the CPP and the New People’s Army that lifted their unilateral ceasefire which will take effect tomorrow, Feb. 10.

Over the weekend, Duterte announced he will terminate the negotiations and tagged the Communists as terrorists reacting to the killing of three soldiers in Bukidnon province on Feb. 1.

He also ordered the rearrest of NDFP consultants.

The Communists said the government has failed to fulfill its promise to free the political prisoners in compliance to previously signed agreements. It also said the attacks against the revolutionary forces and communities in the countryside continue despite the government’s ceasefire. (

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