MAWAB, Compostela Valley (MindaNews / 22 January) — “Destroy the NPA” (New People’s Army), destroy the organization,” President Rodrigo Duterte, commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, ordered his troops here on Monday, as he urged NPA guerrillas to “surrender.”
“Just like drugs, dito sa giyerang ito, destroy the NPA. Destroy the organization,” he said at the covered court of Camp General Manuel T. Yan Sr.,here.
Duterte was here to launch the “TienDA para sa mga Bayani,” a project of the Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Department of National Defense, a marketing scheme that allows farmers and fisherfolk to sell their products directly to consumers in military camps.
He called on the NPA guerrillas to “surrender.”
“Mag-surrender na lang kayo, bigyan ko kayo ng trabaho, automatic may pera pa kayo” (Just surrender and I will give you employment and money).
He promised to also give them a house, will pay for the weapons they surrender and will reconcile them with their children or families. “Unsa pa ba’y gusto ninyo? Magpalamok mo diha sa bukid? Kadaghan ninyo naay malaria. Luspad pa kaayo kay sige mo’g kaon og sagbot diha unya alimatok sige pud ngitngit ninyo. ” (What else do you want? Be eaten by mosquitoes in the hinterlands? Most of you have malaria. You are pale because you only eat weeds and leeches will feast on you).
Duterte stressed he and the communist guerrillas used to be “good friends” but the latter, he said, have become so arrogant.
For the vote
The Davao City mayor of 22 years also confessed why he befriended them: for the vote. “Eh prangkahan ko kayo. Kung bakit ako nakipag-kaibigan sa inyo? Pulitika lang ‘yan. Boto” (I will be frank with you. You know why I befriended you? That’s politics. It’s the vote).
He said you won’t win in the hinterlands and you can’t go up there if you do not befriend the NPA.
Duterte also warned the NPA not to kill comrades who surrender to government.
His warning came two days after he welcomed to the fold Noel Legaspi aka Efren Aksasato, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front – Far South Mindanao Region who surrendered with his NPA medic wife on January 15 and were presented to Duterte last Saturday at the Matina Enclaves.
In Filipino, he said, “I will warn those who kill comrades who surrender. I will remember you. Time might come when you will think of surrender but do not surrender. You must fight well because when you kill someone who has opted to live a peaceful life, you will pay for it.”
“My policy is I’m a hardliner,” he said, as he cautioned those who will not heed his warning that they “will go forever around and around to the rest of your life” because if he chances upon them, “huwag kang magbanggit ng human rights kasi nagwa-warning na ako sa inyo. Hindi ako maniwala niyang human rights na ‘yan” (because if I chance upon you, do not ever mention human rights because I have warned you. I do not believe in human rights), the President said.
“Ibigay mo muna ang human rights sa mga tao na ayaw ng gulo bago kita bigyan ng human rights. It is mutual. ‘Pag nagbaril ka ng tao, nagpatay ka. Isauli mo ‘yung utang mo. Anong human rights?” (You give human rights to those people who do not want trouble before I give you your human rights. It is mutual. When you shoot a person and kill him, you have to pay for what you did. What human rights?), Duterte asked.
He said he used to be on the side of moderation and that he and the communist guerrillas “used to be friends.”
But Duterte said the communists have been fighting for 50 years (the Communist Party of the Philippines was founed on 26 December 1968) , that he listened to then Profesor Jose Ma. Sison, his teacher in Political Thought at the Lyceum of the Philippines.
Half a century
He said the war has been going on for half a century and that even if the NPA says they will fight for another 50 years, Dutere said, “Ako ang takutin mo? (You are threatening me?) May Army ako, may Air Force, may Navy, may CAFGU pa, may police, may Boy Scout pa akong reserba.” The crowd laughed.
“Unsaon nato pag-angat aning kinabuhi sa mga taong taga-bukid na ang nahibaw-an ra man nila kanang barat nga ideolohiya? ” (How can we uplift the lives of residents in the hinterland communities when all they knwo is the cheap ideology?), he asked.
As President, Duterte said, he gave them priority, even appointing communists in his Cabinet but it is beyond him if his appointees did not get the nod of the Commission on Appointments in Congress.
“Let it not be said that I did not try during my time to make peace with everybody because that is the job of the President,” Duterte added.
Duterte called off the peace talks with the NDF in November, issued a proclaamation in December tagging the NPA and the CPP as “terrorist organizaton” but has not disbanded his peace panel. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)