Duterte brands Reds ‘terrorists’

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte doubled down on his angry rhetoric against communist rebels on Sunday, saying they are now considered a “terrorist group” following attacks on government troops that forced an end to a five-month old truce and the cancellation of peace talks.

Duterte made the statement just hours after abruptly ending negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), telling government negotiators to “fold their tents” and calling on leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) to go back to prison.

“From now on I will consider the CPP-NPA-NDF a terrorist group,” Duterte told reporters in Cagayan de Oro City were he visited the wake of fallen soldiers.

Duterte said he would not set a deadline for the surrender of CPP-NPA leaders and would leave the start of any offensive to the military.

“When I lifted the ceasefire, they can carry on their attacks and we are prepared. We have many assets, a lot of planes, we now have jets.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Sunday accepted the President’s decision.

“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. At the moment, he has clearly spoken on the directions we all in government should take. Let’s take guidance from these recent declarations,” Dureza said in a statement.

Dureza, however, assured the public that the Duterte administration was committed to pursuing peace.

“As I always say, the road to just and lasting peace is not easy to traverse. There are humps and bumps, and curves and detours along the way. What is important is that we all stay the course,” Dureza said.

In a radio interview, Assistant Secretary Ana Banaag of the Presidential Communications Office said the government would not hunt down communist rebels in the aftermath of the breakdown of the peace talks, or bar left-leaning Cabinet members from Palace meetings.

In January, the government and the NDFP ended a third round of peace talks in Rome without a bilateral ceasefire agreement, but both sides said their separate unilateral ceasefire declarations would remain.

Both sides agreed to resume peace talks on February 22 in the Netherlands, to try to hammer out a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

But the NPA, the NDFP’s armed wing, announced last Wednesday the termination of their unilateral ceasefire effective February 10, citing Duterte’s failure to release about 400 detained rebels.

Duterte on Friday refused to give in to the rebels’ demand and lifted the ceasefire on the part of the government, calling on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “be ready to fight.”

The President’s decision came after NPA attacks that killed six soldiers. The rebels also abducted three government troopers.

‘Not in hiding’
Fidel Agcaoili, head of the NDFP panel, said he was awaiting a formal notice of the cancellation of talks and clarified that 17 communist leaders freed by Duterte to join the negotiations were in the Philippines and not in hiding.

He stressed that the rebel leaders were protected from re-arrest in accordance with the earlier Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, and that their travel expenses were shouldered by the Norwegian government as third-party facilitator.

“These consultants have been put under the effective jurisdiction of GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) courts because they were released only on bail and only for a six-month period. They have been required to secure court permission every time they went abroad to participate in the last three rounds of talks. Their bail renewal is due this month and, as reflected in the Rome Joint Statement of 25 January 2017, both their lawyers and the GRP have agreed to cooperate in this regard,” Agcaoili said in a statement.

“The NDFP stands firm in its commitment to struggle for a just and lasting peace in the country in accordance with the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people,” he added.

‘Go back to peace table’
Various sectors appealed to the government and the NDFP to go back to peace talks even with the President’s decision to end negotiations.

Asia for Development and Peace Today made an “urgent call” to both sides to “go back to the table and continue the talks”

“Bring the peace process to the public domain and persevere to bring it to a just conclusion,” it said in a statement. “Involve the people especially the poor and under-represented sectors to raise and help resolve the basic issues and concerns of poverty, peace and development which are at the core of the talks. Let’s not give way for evil forces to further obstruct and stall d peace process,” it added.

Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna party-list appealed to the President to reconsider his decision to end peace talks with the rebels.

“What happened was very unfortunate. A chance should be given to negotiate and iron out the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms and the bilateral ceasefire even with the collapse of the unilateral ceasefires,” Zarate said in a statement.

Zarate claimed the junking of the unilateral ceasefire declarations of both parties would “only embolden the militarists in and out of the government to continue a system that impoverished our country and people, as well as spawned widespread violations of human rights.”

Professor Bobby Tuazon, director for policy studies of Center for People Empowerment in Governance, said that instead of suspending the negotiations, both panels should go back to the negotiating table and have the reported ceasefire violations be resolved by a joint monitoring committee.

Tuazon said the decision of the President to call off the talks could have been based on disinformation from the military. “He was ill-advised and ill-informed,” Tuazon told The Manila Times.

Tuazon noted that the NDFP, through Agcaoili, had agreed to compromise and scale down its demand for the release of detained rebels to 50 from 400.

“Mr. Duterte fully knows that there is no military solution to fighting the NPA as the latter itself, through the NDFP, has always declared they are open to a negotiated political settlement through a peace process,” he added.

JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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11 Comments

  1. leonilo salvana on

    Our president. We can wipe these terrorist who make our country as their milking cow to support their needs of their leaders. The are lazy people and have no place in the society.

  2. They are a bunch of rebels who makes extortion, ambush, destabilization as a living. Any survey to be conducted will show that majority of the law abiding Filipino citizen honestly working day to day for a living will agree that it is already pointless to have a peace talk with this group. They are bullies and spoiled leaders who live opulent life abroad while they cannot guarantee and ensure their comrades will follow them. Time to pursue the legal and right way. Arrest and kill those who will resist. Don’t dare to take about human rights and the CBCP to shut up since these folks don’t have an idea what human rights is.

  3. Send this terrorist to hell, the world will be a better place if they dont exist go f@#$k them Mr. President.

  4. Now my suggestion is copy and apply the Sri Lankan way in dealing against their Tamil rebels …. it is very effective … these Reds don’t know the word PEACE, only money they are after at like extortion, banditry and taking money from business people like kotong as if they are a government thru the use of force like burning commuter buses, cell phone sites bombing and brainwashing the minds of the poor. By the way, University of the Philippines is a school hotbed of Communism … every student knows that it is proliferating there and majority of their communist cadres study in that school using taxpayers money … how we are fooled by these terrorist …

  5. get loss terrorist communist…digong have given you a bowl of rice and plates of different ulam then you want to have soft drinks also…ABUSADO na kyong masyado….you must be exterminated together with your yellowish shit cohorts..

  6. For 50 years already these communist rebels have done nothing for the economy , poverty alleviation and peace in the countryside. In reality, these rebels have been milking the economy and natural resources of the land. They belong to the lazy and indolent class who prey on the resources of the Filipino people for their own personal gains. They call themselves communist but even communist china does not recognize them. For the past 50 years they have killed in ambush and tortured thousands of military personnel and yet the CHR and AI don;t lift a finger on their atrocities They domit EJK and justify it as casualties of war, but let the AFP go after them and they start calling it foul and seek support from to CHR , AI and their Norwegian benefactors….

    • I agree with what you say but your user name is what I find disagreeable, did you know that King Nimrod’s name means “the rebellious one.” In the book of Genesis Nimrod built the tower of Babel in a scheme to overthrow God, as his name suggest being anti-God.

      Perhaps you can consider altering your user name to anti-Nimrod, if you want to retain it somewhat, please be open to the suggestion, just some friendly advice.

  7. NDFP Oslo Leaders, very, very low mind, after PRRD goodwill grant release of 23, allowed their ground NPA leaders to reneged truce and abused/killed innocent. NDFP Oslo Leaders turned nothing, ZERO. They are not good enough as leaders.

  8. Alicia M. Advincula on

    There is a very clear indication that those in charge of the peace negotiation has no control over their militant members. The government money used for these peace efforts is not worth it. The president’s decision is right. Go after them and put back to prison those who were already released. Those who want to surrender may be given amnesty and incentives to start a new life.

  9. Go for it Mr President, hunt them down like criminals. Because they are really criminals. They killed my brother and my sister in law just because my sister in law was a police for that reason.

  10. How could you make peace with the Devils? You cannot! The Devils would want everything including your soul! Wise move, D30. Let’s move on & get rid of them all!