Filipino Church leaders warned of an upsurge in violence around the country after the government officially declared the termination of peace negotiations with communist rebels. Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, formally terminated negotiations with the communists, accusing the rebels of engaging in acts of violence and hostilities during the talks. The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, an alliance of five Catholic and Protestant churches supporting the peace process, described the cancellation of the talks as “tragic”.

As reported by, The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform said in a statement that “We find nothing more tragic than the refusal of warring parties to continue to open the doors for dialogue that can result in a further escalation of violence.” The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, earned the ire of the president for staging attacks that killed civilians. The church leaders in the Philippines remarked that “It is in this spirit that we appeal to the government to reconsider its plan to categorize the NPA as a terrorist organization.”

The church leaders warned that “the war is intensifying and it can only get worse, positive talks from the talks should be pursued and not abandoned.