MANILA - A failed dream.
This was how President Rodrigo Duterte described the revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
Duterte said that while he considers the CPP-NPA an enemy, he was still “holding back” from using the full resources of the Armed Forces against the rebels.
“‘Pag nandiyan ka sa NPA, kalaban tayo. Maniwala kayo diyan (If you're in the NPA, we're enemies. Believe me)... it’s a failed dream… but they can be an irritation,” Duterte said in a speech in Pasay City.
“Ako nagho-hold lang talaga ako. Napakarami kong helicopter… nag-iiwan ako ng maliit na butas,” he added.
(I am just holding back. I have lots of helicopters... I have leaving a small loophole.)
The 50-year revolutionary struggle has left over 20,000 deaths, according to the military. Efforts to broker peace with the communist movement over the years have failed, and the military is carrying out active offensives.
Last week, Duterte said he was again open to talks with the rebels, which were suspended over continued rebel attacks on state troops despite ongoing negotiations.
Duterte’s latest tirade against the rebels came on the heels of a row between the Philippine National Police and activist party-list group Alliance of Concerned Teachers stemming from a supposed “profiling” of its members.
The ACT Partylist has been tagged by CPP founder Jose Maria Sison as one of the “legal democratic forces” in the country.
The DILG maintained that the party-list group was organized by CPP-NPA ally National Democratic Front and is a “communist front.”
Duterte, in previous speeches, has accused militant party-list groups of funneling their public fund allocations to the NPA.