DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 July) – Members of the New People’s Army (NPA) can get equal access to the vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) once they are available in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
During his taped “Talk to the People on Coronavirus Disease 2019” aired over Facebook on Friday, Duterte said this is not the time for the government and the NPA to fight while the country is tackling huge problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a matter of humanity, because it is not our money, and because you are a Filipino, okay lang sa akin (That’s fine with me),” He said.
But Duterte asked the NPA not to attack the military and government workers who are helping fight the pandemic, otherwise he would make it difficult for them.
“’Wag lang ninyo galawin, pwede kayong sumali, pumila doon (For as long as you do not attack, you can join, line up there), and even if you announce that you are an NPA, it’s okay. Pagamot ka muna, pa vaccinate ka para mahusay kang lumaban sa pwersa ko (Get yourself treated, get yourself vaccinated so that you can fight well with my forces),” he said.
He vowed the government would vaccinate all Filipinos, including the communist guerrillas, but only if they stop attacking government troops who will be tasked to monitor and supervise the situation on the ground while the pandemic remains.
In an apparent taunt, Duterte said NPA rebels must get vaccinated so they could stand a chance against government forces.
“Para walang masabi baka sabihin ng NPA, natalo kami kasi humina ang katawan namin walang fighting chance. Sige, bakunahin na yang mga y*** na yan so that they will not have anything to say (The NPA might say they lost because their bodies are weak, they do not have a fighting chance. So go ahead, get them vaccinated).
“You do not want to shoot a half-dead, kung mga walang bakuna yan, almost half dead walking around, so mahiya ang mga sundalo ko magbaril (If they are not vaccinated, they are almost half-dead walking around, so my soldiers will be ashamed to shoot them),” he said.
The president said he is not afraid of the NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), as they lacked the armaments to even fight the military.
“Matakot ako sa inyo. Wala kayong eroplano — saranggola siguro meron — wala kayong baroto, barko. wala kang mga jet tapos. Matakot ako sa inyo? (I’m afraid for you. You do not have an aircraft — a kite maybe – you do not have a canoe, ship, you do not have a jet. Why would I be afraid of you?)” he said.
Peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which represents the CPP-NPA, collapsed in late 2017 following mutual accusations of insincerity.
Duterte subsequently signed Proclamation 374, designating the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)