PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday refused to reciprocate the unilateral ceasefire declared by the New People’s Army (NPA), ordering the military to “destroy” the communist rebels.
In his speech during the Christmas gift-giving at Camp General Manuel T. Yan, Mawab, Compostela Valley, Duterte said the Philippines would never improve unless the government destroyed the communist rebels.
“We do not subscribe to their ceasefire. We are ready for anything. Do not fight them, destroy them,” the President said.
“Law and order means you have to destroy — not really fight, but destroy the Communist Party of the Philippines, including its legal fronts and infrastructure,” he said.
Duterte’s statement comes after the NPA attacked a military detachment in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, on December 19, abducting two soldiers and carting away several firearms.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced previously that it would observe a ceasefire with the government forces during the holiday season to “freely enjoy” the celebration of its 50th founding anniversary.
The communists’ truce will take effect at 12:01 a.m. of December 24 to 11:59 p.m. of December 26. Another ceasefire is scheduled from 12:01 a.m. of December 31 to 11:59 p.m. of January 1, 2019.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, however, that the military did not recommend a holiday truce with the communists.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo, in a statement on Friday, accused the communist rebels of declaring a holiday truce to catch the military off guard when they attack.
“That’s the problem, they (communists) have been declaring they will have this truce. So perhaps, our soldiers on the ground believed there’s a truce so they did not anticipate those attacks,” Panelo said.
“And now, it seems to me now that they are using the truce to have our soldiers on the ground off guard. They’re taking advantage of that [truce],” he said.
Meanwhile, Panelo said the state forces should always be prepared for the communist rebels’ possible offensives, whom he likened to a “thief in the night” who are ready to “come and assault” any government troop.
“Definitely it’s not prudent. Nagkamali sila kaya (They made a mistake so) look what happened to them. Kaya (So) that should be a lesson for all of them,” Panelo said.
“They should always be like boy scouts, be prepared because they’re like a thief in the night. They will come to you and assault you,” he added. (The Manila Times)