MANILA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine military said on Wednesday that communist rebels killed two marine soldiers and a militia man in separate attacks, clouding prospects for a resumption of formal peace talks between the government and the rebels next month.
Around 50 New People's Army (NPA) rebels in military uniforms disguising as soldiers ambushed on Wednesday a convoy of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in Arakan town in Cotabato province in the southern Philippines, resulting in the death of a militia man and the wounding of five presidential guards.
Two unarmed marine soldiers were also gunned down on Wednesday by NPA rebels in Roxas town in Palawan province while buying vegetables in the wet market, according to the military.
The military also reported that communist rebels burned three construction equipments in an attack on Tuesday in Surigao City in the southern Philippines. The attack came barely three days after rebels burned last Saturday construction equipments being used to build road in Lopez town in Quezon, a province south of Manila.
The government called on the communist rebels to show "goodwill gesture" and reciprocate the efforts of the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to usher in peace in the country.
Duterte met with the government peace negotiators Tuesday night and instructed the panel to discuss the possible signing of a bilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels.
During the meeting, Duterte also directed the panel "not to resume formal peace talks with the rebels unless the rebels agree to stop their attacks against government troops."
The government panel, led by chief negotiator Sylvester Bello, is scheduled to conduct back channel talks with the rebels to discuss the scheduled resumption of the formal talks next month.
However, government peace adviser, Secretary Jesus Dureza, said the talks can only resume if the rebel stops attacking the military and the police forces and the extortion activities.
Duterte's spokesman Ernesto Abella said "it is time for the (communist rebels) to reciprocate the (government's) gestures of goodwill by wending their extortion and criminal actives and re-directing their energy to help eradicate terrorism and violent extremism in Mindanao."
Abella issued the statement after the communist rebels denounced Duterte for asking the Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao in the southern Philippines up to Dec. 31 this year.
Duterte imposed a 60-day martial law in the entire Mindanao after Islamic extremists attacked Marawi City last May 23. However, the communist rebels said Duterte's decision to extend martial law will result "in worse military and police abuses."
The stalled negotiations to end the decades-long communist insurgency is scheduled to resume in August. But Duterte had warned that he would not allow peace talks to continue if the communist rebels continue its offensive against government forces.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its NPA guerrillas have been fighting the government since 1969. The NPA, one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies concentrates its attacks in rural areas and small-scale skirmishes with the military.
Previous attempts to forge a peace pact with the communist rebels have failed. The Duterte administration restarted peace negotiations with the armed group with an estimated 4,000 guerrillas.