MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said he will not declare a ceasefire “ever again” with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) for the rest of his term.
“There will be no ceasefire ever again under my term pagka-Presidente (as President). For all intents and purposes, ‘yung (the) ceasefire is dead,” Duterte said in his televised talk to the people late Monday night.
Duterte made the remarks four days after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is not inclined to recommend any truce with the CPP-NPA this holiday season.
"The AFP -- wishing and longing for a peaceful yuletide season for the Filipino people notwithstanding -- will not recommend to the Commander-in-Chief (President Rodrigo Duterte) a holiday ceasefire with the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG)," AFP spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.
Arevalo noted the communist terrorists have been demonstrating insincerity in previous agreements.
"This was the AFP’s painful experience where the CTG reneged from their own ceasefire declaration by attacking and killing soldiers on humanitarian and peace and development missions," Arevalo said.
Duterte said the request of the CPP and its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), to form a “coalition government” prompted him to “walked away” from peace talks.
“I walked away from the talks because we cannot understand each other. Maybe we were talking in different dialects. I don’t know why. But I just simply cannot understand the way it is being carried by the other side, being played. What was evolving before me was something that it is not acceptable to the Republic of the Philippines, lalo na ‘yang (especially this) coalition government. No president, no stupid president will allow it. He will get impeached,” he said.
He said he cannot compromise anything in the government, particularly the supposed power-sharing the CPP-NPA-NDF asked from him.
“You are not supposed to share that power. Ako, may sinumpaan ako (I have an oath of office). Those powers are given to me under the law, only to be exercised unless they are capable of being delegated. I cannot compromise anything in this government. It’s either I will be impeached or the military and the police will shoot me,” Duterte said.
He criticized the communists for committing offenses like arson, rape and killing soldiers and barangay officials, and for conspiring to overthrow the government.
“These are serious offenses under the revised penal code,” he said. “All communists are bad because all of you are conspiring to overthrow the government of the Republic of the Philippines and nobody would allow you, not the military, not the police, and not the majority of all Filipinos.”
Duterte said he will identify the groups which serve as “legal fronts” of the CPP-NPA-NDF before he steps down in 2022.
“I’m trying to sort out what we will do to you because you are now criminals and as I have pointed out, we are not only tagging you, that’s a light… we are identifying you. And we will identify you anytime you want but there will be a time under my end terms. I will name all of you, kayong lahat sa (all of you in the) NDF,” Duterte added.
In his speech last week, Duterte said the Armed Forces of the Philippines does not engage in red-tagging leftist lawmakers but was actually “identifying” them as legal fronts.
He said the AFP is “very correct” for identifying groups like Bayan, Makabayan, and Gabriela as “legal fronts” of CPP-NPA.
“Itong mga legal fronts ng komunista, lahat ‘yan (These legal fronts of the communists. All of them) Makabayan, Bayan…they are all legal fronts, Gabriela. We are not red-tagging you. We are identifying you as members in a grand conspiracy comprising all the legal fronts that you have organized headed by NDF tapos yung (then) New People’s Army at Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said. (PNA)