TACLOBAN CITY- Expect more ‘tactical offenses’ to be carried out by the members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Thus warned an official of the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines, reacting to the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte before soldiers of the 803rd Infantry Brigade directing them to ‘neutralize’ men and even women suspected to be NPA members.
“In response to Duterte’s threats, the NPA will strive to intensify tactical offensives to defend the people and to punish the police, military and paramilitary units that are the worst human rights violators and promoters of mining, logging, land grabbing and other plunder,” Ka Karlos, spokesperson of the Efren Martires Command of the NPA operating in Eastern Visayas said in an emailed statement Wednesday.
“The NPA will surely become bigger and stronger because Rodrigo Duterte himself is fast becoming the best NPA recruiter as his human rights violations and dictatorial powers are convincing more people to take up armed struggle and overthrow the reactionary ruling system.”
During his visit to 803rd IB based at Camp Juan Ponce Sumoroy in Catarman, Northern Samar on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Duterte did not minced word when he directed government soldiers, to include policemen, to neutralize NPA members as a way to end Asia’s longest insurgency problem.
In his speech before the soldiers, Mr.Duterte also slammed the communist group saying they have done nothing to the country but killed Filipinos.
He, however, called on them to surrender and return to the folds of the law and in the process, receive assistance from the government.
Mr. Duterte provided financial assistance to 15 former rebels, an activity that was not opened to media.
Ka Karlos said that the statement of the President is another version of the controversial ‘tokhang’ used by the Philippine National Police on the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
“This is worse than the bloody anti-drug war “Tokhang” which was against a part of the poor who were desperate and dabbled in drugs. Now Duterte wants to arrest or kill all who opposes his regime, who could even be conveniently shot dead and described in police parlance as ‘NPA na nanlaban,’ he said.
“This will be carrying out mass murder because the police and military are steeped in fanatical anticommunism and do not see any difference, such as between a student activist and an NPA Red fighter,” he added.
The spokesperson of the armed group operating in the region called on the Army and police not to follow this order of their Commander-in-Chief and respect human rights.