In this Nov. 23, 2016 photo, New People's Army's new regional rebel commander Jaime Padilla, center, who uses the nom de guerre Comrade Diego, walks with young guerrillas after having their photos taken at their encampment tucked in the harsh wilderness of the Sierra Madre mountains. AP/Aaron Favila, File

Duterte: NPAs want war? I'll give it to them
Alexis Romero (philstar.com) - November 21, 2017 - 12:51pm
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is abandoning the peace talks with the communists as he threatened to shut down mining firms that are paying the so-called revolutionary tax to the rebels.
 
Duterte said the communists have launched attacks that harmed innocent civilians and have made demands that he could not give
 
“As of yesterday, I have decided to cut talks with the NPAs (New People’s Army),” the president said during a tribute to fallen soldiers Tuesday in Taguig City.  
 
“I told (Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus) Dureza and (government chief negotiator Silvestre) Bello: ‘You tell the guys there in Netherlands, I am no longer available for any official talk. Giyera na lang tayo (let us just wage war),” he added.
 
“So I have to build a strong army.”
 

Duterte: If you support NPA rebels, I'll close you down

Duterte also issued a stern warning against the supporters of the communist rebels including mining firms that provide them funding.
 
“All mining companies are paying taxes to the NPA. Without exceptions. Their mining won’t thrive if they do not give money,” the president said
 
“We have to decide once and for all. If I go against the communists, then everybody has to reconfigure their relationship with the NPA. If you support them financially, I will close you down,” he added.
 
Duterte said he is prepared to go to war with the communists, who have been waging an armed struggle against the government for 50 years.
 
“Kung gusto nila ng giyera, eh pagbigyan ko sila. Wala akong magawa kasi (If they want war, I will give it to them. I cannot do anything because) I tried to talk to them and asked them if we can reach a settlement,” the president said.
 
“If you feel like the killing of Filipinos should stop, then I would be happier. But they are asking me for things which I cannot give,” he added.
 
 
Duterte called off the peace negotiations with the rebels last July after the Communist Party of the Philippines ordered the NPA to attack government troopers enforcing martial law in Mindanao.
 
The president imposed martial law in Mindanao after jihadists laid siege to Marawi City last May 23. Marawi has been freed from terrorists last month but Mindanao remains under martial law because of the presence of extremists in other provinces.

Thorny issues

Another contentious issue was the demand of the communists to free rebel leaders facing criminal charges. The government rejected the demand, saying it could not be done until a bilateral ceasefire agreement is signed.
 
“When I was president, they are asking for something I cannot give because it is not mine to give and since they are very unreasonable, I said stand down but they do not follow,” Duterte said.
 
The president chided the rebels behind the ambush in Bukidnon last November 9 that left a four-month-old infant and a policeman dead.  
 
“I will admit it, pasista ako (I am a fascist). I will categorize you already as terrorists,” he said.
 
 
Duterte also claimed that the leftist legal fronts are “in conspiracy” with the NPA, the armed wing of the communist movement.
 
Last week, Duterte said he would issue a proclamation classifying the NPA as a terrorist group and threatened to launch a crackdown against leftist organizations.
 
 
“I'll be issuing a proclamation. I will remove them from the category of (a legal) entity or at least a semi-movement which would merit our attention—placing them—just like America—terrorists,” Duterte said.
 
“So beginning from now, there will be no more rebellion because rebellion is just a light offense. It can be bailable except for the leader. We will file (terrorism), murder everything. Arson with murder. Everything. Because I would consider them criminals already,” he added.
 

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