On Tuesday, Mr. Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said the president was stripping rebel leaders of immunity from arrest, which Mr. Duterte had earlier granted them in order to facilitate the talks. The leaders should surrender now “or face punitive actions,” Mr. Roque said.
“We have to shut the doors for now to any ongoing peace talks,” he said. “I am not in a position to say that the door will forever be shut.” Mr. Roque said the president might consider reopening negotiations if the rebels showed “the requisite sincerity.”
Mr. Duterte’s decision to end the talks came after a rebel attack on the southern island of Mindanao that killed two civilians, including an infant girl. Three police officers and six civilians were wounded in that clash.
Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the army’s Second Infantry Division, said the rebel unit involved in the fighting on Tuesday night had been on the run since September and was responsible for a series of attacks in the region. He said the clash was “in line with the president’s pronouncement that the N.P.A. are terrorists.”
“Soldiers are more committed than ever to push harder and finally put an end to this insurgency,” General Parayno said.
The Philippine communists have been fighting since 1969, making theirs one of the longest-running insurgencies in Asia. Thousands of combatants on both sides have been killed, along with many civilians. The military estimates that the rebels have more than 5,000 guerrilla fighters in dozens of hot spots across the country.
Earlier this week, Mr. Duterte threatened to shut down companies in the countryside that pay so-called revolutionary taxes demanded by the rebels.
“For those who cannot resist, then you better close up,” Mr. Duterte said, accusing mining companies in particular of a “dangerous tendency of capitulating” to rebel demands.
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