By Rikard Jalkebro

When he was elected president of the Philippines in July 2016, President Rodridgo Duterte promised to negotiate peace agreements with the major insurgent groups that have destabilised much of the country for decades.

His government announced it would commence peace talks with the representatives of the National Democratic Front, the umbrella organisation that represents both the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army. Duterte also committed himself to a peace agreement with the Philippines’ largest insurgent group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

At the time, these seemed like breakthroughs in the making. But the early optimism has dissolved, and the peace talks have stalled. While the government does seem genuinely willing to negotiate, the president seems to be been prioritising another one of his election campaign promises: eradicating crime and drugs.

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Thumbnail: Flickr CC El_Enigma