CLARK, PAMPANGA: President Rodrigo Duterte dared self-exiled Communist Part of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison to leave his “sanctuary” in The Netherlands and bring the fight to the Philippines.
In his speech during the Kapampangan Food Festival here, Duterte criticized Sison for living a good life in Utrecht, Netherlands while members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP, struggled daily in the mountains.
“You Sison, you’ve been fighting a war, directing a violent struggle while you enjoy your sanctuary in The Netherlands,” the President said in his speech on Thursday.
“Bakit hindi ka umuuwi dito? Tayo nalang ang magka-upakan . Para kayong mga senyorito doon. At the expense of another, you have been subsidized by the Norwegian government,” he added.
Duterte issued the statement a day after he revealed his intent to order the “mass arrest” of communist leaders who were granted temporary liberty to allow their participation in the peace negotiations.
With the cancellation of the peace talks and the designation of the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations, Duterte said he has no choice but to order the arrest of the leaders.
“To the NPA, NDF (National Democratic Front), CPP, we should expect a longer war of a treason here. But it will be done during my term, I will be happy. I am not talking to them anymore,” the President said.
“For those who are out temporarily, you just maybe zero in now because any day, I will order for their mass arrest. I have no choice. That’s what you want. You demanded. I gave too much too soon. I know the police and the military had sentiments about my decision, you know, I released almost about 32,” he added.
Duterte signed Proclamation 374 on Tuesday, December 5, declaring the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” organizations under Republic Act 10168, otherwise known as “The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.”
The NDF, political arm of the CPP, is not covered by the proclamation.
Duterte first ordered the temporary release of some detained communist leaders in July 2016 to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks between the current administration and the communist group.
Amid the ongoing talks, Duterte had twice ordered their suspension following the series of attacks by the NPA against the police and the military.
On November 23, the President signed Proclamation 360 to formally end the negotiations.
Duterte lamented that the peace talks were stymied because the “enemies of the state,” apparently referring to the communists, lacked sincerity in achieving peace and order in the country.
“I will make this country prosperous by talking to the enemies of the state. Problem is they don’t like it,” the President said.
“One day, I will just hope you’re arrested. You want to fight the country, create a revolution, fine. We’ve been fighting you for 50 years and we will fight again for another 50 years. That’s what you want. I just have to prepare the country for such eventuality,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE