PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to declare the New People’s Army (NPA) a terrorist organization did not surprise at least three senators who said that it’s what the communist armed group has been for the longest time.
“Only a President with Duterte’s guts can declare the NPA [rebels]as terrorists and that’s what who they are for quite a long time,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in a text message.
He added that security forces would surely respond to the President’s call and finally put an end to a movement whose ideology had morphed to plain banditry perpetrated by the self-styled “army of the people.”
Sen. Gregorio Honasan, who heads the Committee on National Defense and Security, said it was the prerogative of the President to come up with such a declaration, noting that he has access to information that would justify his actions.
Honasan, who also heads the Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, said that as commander-in-chief of all security forces his decision was based on the information provided by his national security advisers.
The President said that he would issue a proclamation calling the NPA a “terrorist” group as he expressed disinterest in pursuing peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd, meanwhile, said that he was not surprised by the President’s pronouncement, noting that a court in Mindanao has declared NPA a terrorist organization.
“They have already been declared by an RTC court in Mindanao as such, therefore, the President’s declaration is not far from coming,” he said in a separate text message. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA