Manila: Three soldiers were killed in a landmine explosion in the southern Philippines, military said. Authorities blamed communist rebels for the blast.

The three soldiers were killed when they were going out of the camp of the 69th Infantry Battalion in Guinabatan Village, Paquibato District in Davao City at 8.30am yesterday, Major Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, commander of the 10th Civil Military Operations, said in a statement that reached Manila's military headquarters.

The identities of the slain were not released, but their families were already informed about the tragedy, said Obligado.

Their fellow soldiers were to conduct a community programme in the south, said Obligado. Members of the communist New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the 45-year old Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), planted the landmines, Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the regional military office, said in the same report.

Stalled peace talks

The New People's Army had violated the initial agreement signed by the Philippine government and the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) that "protects Filipinos from landmine attacks", explained Paniza.

He referred to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law that the Philippine government and the communist National Democratic Front (NDF), the negotiator of the CPP-NPA, had signed in 1998, which took effect in 2004.

The Philippine government and the NDF renewed stalled peace talks in 2010, after the election of President Benigno Aquino.

However, talks have not been fast-tracked since then because the government has refused to give in to the demands of the NDF, such as the release of imprisoned leftist leaders who were identified as peace consultants.

Peace talks between the government and the NDF were temporarily stalled in 2004.

At the time, the NDF refused to return to the negotiating table after the Philippine government did not stop the US and the European Union including the CPP-NPA in their lists of foreign terrorists.