President Rodrigo Duterte needs to make a move to counter the terror activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), Malacañang said.
Despite his recent order to crush all terror groups including the NPA, the Chief Executive remains open to the resumption of peace negotiations with the CPP’s political component, the National Democratic Front (NDF), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“The President, as we always hear him, he always leaves a space, the window ajar for any peace negotiation with them,” Panelo said in a press briefing.
“But he will not allow the attacks, the assaults against our forces. That is why if they attempt to do that, the order is to crush them,” he added.
On Tuesday, Duterte ordered the military to quash terrorism, insurgency and illegal drugs in the country.
The President said his directive to go after the enemies of state such as NPA rebels was meant to “put an end to Filipinos’ problem.”
Duterte’s order came following his announcement earlier this month that he was giving peace talks another chance since he considers the communists as “friends.”
Panelo said Duterte is still sincere to revive the peace negotiations with the communist insurgents, but cannot ignore their ceaseless attacks against the government troops and civilians.
“The President has always been sincere, he always opens talks. But the problem on the other side is that they keep on attacking the forces,” he said.
“So you cannot be standing, sitting idly, [watching] them terrorize or kill our own people, kaya ayaw niya yun (he doesn’t want that). But despite that, open pa rin (he’s still open to peace talks),” Panelo added.
The President, through Proclamation 360 signed on Nov. 23, 2017, shelved the peace negotiations between the national government peace panel and the NDF consultants due to series of attacks waged by NPA rebels against state forces and civilians.
On Dec. 5, 2017, Duterte also signed Proclamation 374, which labels the CPP-NPA as a terror organization because of their supposed actions “against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations.”
The CPP-NPA is also branded as a terror group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Executive Order 70, signed by Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018, creates the NTF-ELCAC and orders local peace bodies to negotiate with communist insurgents in their respective areas.
Despite Duterte’s openness to restart peace talks, the President was still included on the supposed hit list of the communist movement, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Presidential Security Group commander, Brig. Gen. Jose Eriel Niembra guaranteed that the Chief Executive is safe and secure, despite inclusion on the so-called hit list. (PNA)