Duterte orders military, police to use all assets against NPA
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered on Thursday the military and police to continue with their war, using all available assets, against communist rebels following their recent attack resulting in the death of four cops.
In the media interview in Davao del Sur, Duterte said what the New People's Army did with the policemen was "not an overkill" but "a question of honor," likening to a song of Sarah Brightman.
"We fight war and as revolutionary ideology would put it, it's a kind of ideological cannibalism because you devour your own kind. You kill your own brothers and sisters in thy name in the altar of revolution," Duterte said.
He vowed to use the air assets, new jets and "make use of the rockets, bombs" against the rebels.
Unlike the NPA rebels who have been using improvised explosive device, the military and the police are governed by rules. "We are not allowed to do that," he said.
Duterte said at the start of his administration, he tried to reach out to the rebels.
He challenged the Maoist group if it wants another 50 years of war, then the government is ready. "They chose.. I'm ready for all out war, another 50 years."
The four policemen were reportedly executed by the rebels, who shot them in the head.
"It was a well laid trap," Duterte said, noting that a Maranao woman was also killed.
In Zamboanga del Sur, the NPA’s people court on Tuesday ordered the execution of three people in Barangay Dampalan, Pagadian City, police said Thursday.
The NPA claimed these people were landgrabbers and masterminded killing of four people.
Asked on the effect of the NPA recent attacks on the peace process, Duterte said, "so far, no peace talks. It's totally absent. So, in the meantime, I will just ask also the armed forces and the police (to) just go ahead, wage a war against them, anything goes for now."
However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Presidential Peace Adviser Jess Dureza, Communist Party of the Philippines leaders Benito and Wilma and Vic Ladlad left Wednesday for an undisclosed country in Europe for back channel talks.
Lorenzana said he allowed the Tiamzons and Ladlad to leave last night.
“Initially the president said he will not talk to these people unless there is compelling reason and I believe, because of the clamor of the Filipinos, a large portion of the Filipino people, including Congress. I think there are about more than 100 congressmen who signed a petition for the president to resume the talks,” Lorenzana said.
But Duterte was resolute in his order for the police and military.
"I will allow the police and the military this time to use all available assets," Duterte said.
As for those who could be part of the collateral damage, he said, "sorry."
"Well, I'm sorry this gory incident had to happen. But I can assure everybody that the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police will respond this time," he said.
Celerina Monte, Robina Asido/DMS