The Philippine National Police will end the communist insurgency by engaging all fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said on Thursday.

 Members of the League of Parents of the Philippines hold a rally to denounce the recruitment of their children by progressive groups suspected as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army. PHOTO BY JOHN ORVEN VERDOTE

The statement came as President Rodrigo Duterte said he would crush the communist insurgency “now.”

“We will engage them in all their fronts [in] agriculture, [in] labor, even the health [sector], even sa (in) academe, which we started already,” Albayalde told reporters.

Religious groups and people sitting in the government are also targets of the PNP.

“Engage natin ‘yan in all their legal fronts, kasi may mga fronts ‘yung mga ‘yan, sinasabi marami ‘yan sila even sa political side, although hindi natin ‘yun saklaw kasi nasa armed sector tayo (We will engage them, in all their legal fronts because there are many of them even in the political side, although we can’t do anything about it because we are an armed sector),” the police chief said.

But with the PNP’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), he added, they could go after the legal fronts with leftist affiliation.

“May haharap diyan, kasi we have [the] National Task Force-ELCAC. This is a whole-nation approach, not only whole-government approach (Someone will face them because we have the National Task Force-ELCAC. This is a whole-nation approach, not only whole-government approach),” Albayalde said.

He cited the importance of a bigger intelligence fund to curb terrorism and the communist insurgency, as requested by Duterte for 2020.

“We have to invest in counter-terrorism equipment, counter-terrorism effort [and] counter-terrorism intervention. Napakaimportante po nito at makukuha lang natin ito (This is very important and we will only realize this objective) when we enhance our intelligence effort),” Albayalde said.

Based on the National Expenditure Program for 2020, the Office of the President is requesting P4.5 billion for intelligence, which is higher than the P2.5 billion confidential and intelligence fund of the office in 2018 and 2019.

Earlier, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said increasing the intelligence fund and amendments to the Human Security Act could lead to a “de facto police state.”

Albayalde thanked President Duterte for raising the PNP budget from 2019’s P173.5 billion to 2020’s P184.9 billion.