8 killed in armed conflict: CPP wants talks, says defeating NPA a 'Duterte pipedream'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — At least eight were killed in clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People's Army (NPA) since the rebels ended their unilateral ceasefire last February 1, according to military reports.

There were two deaths from the rebels, five soldiers, and one civilian.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte's bid to end their insurgency will fail, and advised him to rethink his decision to terminate the talks.

Duterte should not have gone as far as ending the talks despite the resumption of armed conflict, CPP founder and now National Democratic Front (NDF) chief political consultant Joma Sison said in a statement.

The NDF is the CPP's political arm talking peace with the rebels.

Also read: NDF hopes to continue with peace talks

Sison asked Duterte, his former student at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, "to consult thoroughly with his negotiating panel and the peace advocates in his own cabinet and others outside of his government, and encourage and allow back-channeling efforts to clarify misunderstandings and solve immediately the current problems."

In a statement on Thursday, the CPP condemned what it claimed was government's "all-out war" against the NPA, and said it is bound to fail.

"Defeating the NPA is a Duterte pipedream. Other regimes before him have tried and failed," the CPP said.

TIMELINE: Peace talks between the government and communist rebels

The CPP added, the government's fight against the NPA mirrors Duterte's war on drugs, which the police and military say have claimed the lives of 2,500 drug offenders.

The CPP said the campaign has resulted in massive human rights violations because of impunity.

"He (Duterte) is bound to set his fascist dogs in the AFP against activists and civilians, especially in the areas where the people are actively waging land reform struggles and resistance against foreign mining companies and plantations," the CPP said.

“The people’s army, the NPA, will be at the people’s side to punish the AFP’s fascist troops at every available opportunity," the CPP added.

Killed in armed conflict

Meanwhile, a civilian was the latest fatality from rebel attacks.

Lito Siagan Atoy was abducted then killed by NPA rebels in Talakag, Bukidnon on Thursday, according to a military report. 

On the same day, the rebels also captured a policeman and one other civilian, and burned heavy equipment owned by the Mindanao Rock Corporation, the military said.

Glenn Ramos was among the two rebels killed on Monday. The CPP said the military lied when it accused Ramos as an NPA member who resisted arrest.

"The entire AFP story is dubious and sounds like all the 'nanlaban (fought back)' stories of the PNP of the past few months," the CPP said.

The military said another rebel was killed in a 30-minute firefight in Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro on Sunday.

The Armed Forces said the NPA killed three soldiers in Bukidnon on February 1, despite declaring on that same day that their unilateral ceasefire still holds until its termination on February 10.

Also read: PH Army: NPA rebels kill, abduct soldiers despite ceasefire

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said this was the "last straw" that led to Duterte's withdrawal from the peace talks on Saturday.

Suspected NPA rebels killed the platoon leader of the 67th Infantry Battalion in Manay, Davao Oriental, also on February 1, the military said.

On Tuesday morning, rebels killed an enlisted military personnel in Tapaz, Capiz.

At least three soldiers have been held captive by rebels since February 1, the military said.

While five other soldiers have been wounded from fighting the NPA, the actual number of casualties on the rebel side is unknown.

The military and police have arrested at least three rebels since February 1.

The government is urging communist rebels to turn themselves in. At least eight have surrendered to authorities, the military said.

CNN Philippines is monitoring rebel attacks and heightened military operations against the NPA.

Botched peace talks

Despite an optimistic start to the peace talks, Duterte said he now considers the CPP-NPA-NDF a terrorist group.

The fourth round of peace talks under the Duterte administration was supposed to resume in Oslo, Norway on April 2-6.

Sison said the Norwegian government, which has been serving as third-party facilitator in the peace talks since the 1990s, deserves to be briefed by the government and communist peace panels on the possible continuance of peace talks.

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila in a statement sent to CNN Philippines on Tuesday, said it is "in close dialogue with both parties. We know from experience that all peace processes are going through challenging phases."

Also read: CPP hits Duterte for 'arbitrarily terminating' peace talks

CNN Philippines' Ella Hermonio contributed to this report.