DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The ties between President Rodrigo Duterte and the Communists is suffering a major dent now that Duterte announced he is treating his former allies as terrorists, a day after he ended the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Speaking before the family of soldiers killed in a reported ambush by the New People’s Army in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday afternoon, Duterte said he is seeing the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed wing the NPA and the NDFP as terrorist organizations.
“From now on I will consider the CPP-NPA-NDF a terrorist group,” he said adding reports that a soldier who died got “73 gunshot wounds.”
They also called the group “bandits” and said that he is prepared to add 50 more years to fight the almost five-decade old insurgency.
Ambushed by NPA
The Army on Thursday, Feb. 2 reported that three of the soldiers were captured by alleged NPA members in Barangay Manalog, Malaybalay City in Bukidnon province.
“The three soldiers were on their way to Malaybalay City to withdraw their subsistence allowance when they were forcibly accosted by the NPAs. The three soldiers were also unarmed and in their civilian attire when they were taken,” the Army said in a statement.
On the same day, the three were found dead in Sitio Kalib, Barangay Kibalabag.
Duterte said he will do the same to the NPA and ordered the soldiers to “prepare for a long fight”.
“Dili ko magpaisa, kung unsay gibuhat nila kung patyon nila mga sundalo nga nigawas kung makita sila sa gawas ipapatay pud nako,” he said.
“Walay problema sa ako magpatay. Gitay-an na ang mga bala nako diri (I have no problem in killing. My bullets here have long been kept),” he said.
Duterte on Saturday said he is ordering the government peace panel to go home and terminated the ongoing peace negotiations with the Communists.
Both parties were scheduled to meet by the end of the month and on the first week of April for the fourth round of talks.
Duterte said he has done everything for the peace negotiations granting the temporary release of NDFP consultants to join the talks in Oslo, Norway.
However, the Communists said the Duterte administration failed to fulfill its obligation of releasing almost 400 political prisoners who were “unjustly detained”.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said they will take the cue from Duterte’s recent pronouncement.
“If there is anyone who passionately dreams of — and works on — bringing about sustainable peace in the land, it is President Duterte. His judgment calls are directed towards this goal,” Dureza said.
“At the moment, he has clearly spoken on the directions we all in government should take. Let’s take guidance from these recent declarations,” he added. (davaotoday.com)