Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo: EPA/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on February 4 that the Government will cancel peace talks with rebel group New People’s Army (NPA).

Speaking with reporters in Davao city, Duterte said that he has ordered negotiators of the government peace panel “to fold up tents and come home”. The peace talks will remain cancelled until there is a compelling reason to prove that the talks benefit the interest of the nation, according to Duterte.

On February 3, the President also declared to annul the unilateral ceasefire with the NPA while the Philippine army pledged to have no mercy on the rebel group.

The NPA repealed its one-sided ceasefire with the Government on February 1, saying that President Duterte did not keep his promise to release about 400 political prisoners. Besides, the group accused the Philippine army of using the ceasefire as an excuse to enter areas that are under the control of the NPA.

In August 2016, the NPA announced a ceasefire from August 28, 2016 to February 10, 2017 to pave the way for resuming peace talks with the Government. The fight between the Government troops and the NPA has claimed about 30,000 lives since the 1960s. The number of the NPA’s gunmen has been reduced to 4,000 from 26,000 at peak.-VNA