PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that the New People’s Army (NPA) was a terrorist group has gotten the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), a spokesman said.
“We totally agree with the Commander-in-Chief in calling the NPA [as]terrorists] because it is clearly reflected in the numerous criminal/lawless/terrorist acts they have been committing against defenseless and innocent civilians,” Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said in a statement on Sunday.
On Saturday, Duterte said he would issue a proclamation calling the NPA a “terrorist” group as he reiterated that he did not want to pursue peace talks with the the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF). The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP.
Duterte also called on the NPA rebels to get jobs as they surrender and return to the fold of the law.
In July, the President called off peace talks with the communists following a string of attacks by the NPA against state forces in North Cotabato and Palawan.
Padilla said the government “has done its part” when it resumed talks with the NDF.
“What we are asking from them is their commitment to cease and desist from the attacks but they did not and went into a period of peace relatively from August 2016 to February 2017,” he said in an interview with reporters.
“They (the Left) were the ones who violated and they were the ones who suspended the peace talks. So, we were prompted. What do they really want? We should be the ones asking what they really want,” Padilla added. DEMPSEY REYES