President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he would issue a proclamation labeling communist rebels as terrorists as he reiterated that he no longer wanted to talk with the National Democratic Front and the Communist Party of the Philippines following a string of attacks by the New People’s Army on state forces.
“Then, we recognized them as rebels but with their continued predations and killing innocent people and even an infant, a four month old, I will be issuing a proclamation, I will remove them from the category of a legal entity or at least a semi-movement which would merit our attention, placing them, just like in America, terrorists,” Duterte said in a media interview in Davao City.
“Beginning from now, no more rebellion because rebellion is a life offense, it can be bailable except for the leaders. We will file terrorist murder lahat, arson with murder, lahat na because we would consider them criminals already,” he added.
The President said he was not keen on reviving the peace negotiations between the government and the communists.
“No, I am not anymore inclined to (talk peace with communist rebels). You know they have propaganda and even on the streets, there’s a lot (of) streamers there and placards saying that I am a fascist, I am involved in graft and corruption, I have P2 billion, e kung ganun paniwala ninyo (If that’s what you think)…what’s the point of talking to me if I am a corrupt official, if I have amassed wealth. Now if I am corrupt, fascist, mamatay tao (a killer) why talk to me? Go find somebody else,” he added.
The fifth round of talks between the government and negotiators of the NDF/CPP was initially scheduled on May 27 to June 1. The dialogue was called off following the series of attacks on police outposts. CATHERINE S. VALENTE