The AFP continues its offensives until a formal declaration of a ceasefire, said Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla. Cpl. Courtney G. White/U.S. Marine Corps, File

AFP ready for imminent terror tag on CPP-NPA
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - November 19, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is ready to act on President Duterte’s plan to issue a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA) as a terrorist organization.

Military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, said the rebel group’s actions actually show who they really are and if they really want to talk peace or not. 

“Government has done its part and negotiated with sincerity. We totally agree with the Commander-in-Chief in calling the NPAs terrorists because it is clearly reflected in the numerous criminal/lawless/terrorist acts that they have been committing against defenseless and innocent civilians,” he said in a statement.

“The way they have been behaving and then showing their cooperation in the peace talks (contradict their trustworthiness). We just respect the true nature of the group,” he said in a separate interview yesterday.

 The AFP continues its offensives until a formal declaration of a ceasefire, said Padilla.

“In the past, we were back-channeling but there was no formal discussion. We asked for their commitment to cease and desist from the attacks but they did not,” he said.

Padilla recalled how the AFP and the NPA “went into a period of peace relatively from August 2016 to February 2017” when a ceasefire was declared.

 However, he said it was the rebel group that violated the ceasefire declaration by launching attacks that forced the military and the government to act accordingly. 

 Last Saturday, President Duterte said he would issue a proclamation declaring the NPA as a terrorist organization that will “remove them from the category of a legal entity or at least a semi-movement which would merit our attention.”

Rody blames NPA for high food prices 

In Davao City, President Duterte blamed the New People’s Army rebels for the high prices of basic commodities, particularly agricultural products that come from farmers in the hinterlands. 

He cited the collection of revolutionary taxes by the NPA from the farmers, which forces the latter to increase the prices of their produce. 

“The lesser people dipping their fingers in the movement of the merchandisers, the better for everyone. If the NPAs collect taxes the prices of vegetables shoot up,” Duterte said.

“Akala nila gobyerno rin sila (They act like they are government),” he added.   

The President asked the farmers who displayed their products at the launch of TienDA  Farmers and Fisherfolks Outlets, a partnership project between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Ayala Malls (Accendo Commercial Corp.) at the Asian Food Market in Abreeza Mall, in this city last Saturday, about the revolutionary taxes the NPA collects from them.

“Pila man sa NPA niani? (How much is the NPA getting from this)?”

The NPA rebels also maintain checkpoints in certain key areas where they waylay the farmers, Duterte said. 

“The (NPA) ask for a cut in the sales of the farmers’ produce so that these are priced much higher instead of being at more affordable prices for the people,” he said.

Aside from the NPA, Duterte also blamed so-called dicers or “middle men” who buy the produce of farmers at source value and sell them at a much higher price, causing the skyrocketing of prices.

– With Edith Regalado

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