“You cannot even occupy a barangay.”
The President said that it is time to end the fighting and called on the communist rebels to “deal with me in government in good faith.”
The President uttered these words during a visit to the wake of CAFGU Active Auxiliary Panggong S. Komanod at the headquarters of the Army 60th Infantry Battalion in Davao del Norte on Friday. Komanod was killed in an ambush staged by the NPA last July 27, two days after Duterte announced a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels during his first State-of-the-Nation Address.
Angered by the incident, the President strongly condemned those behind the attack, saying he is not in the business of lying when he declared a cessation of hostilities with the CPP-NPA.
“I decided to declare a unilateral ceasefire because I know that the Philippines needs peace to survive in the coming generation,” Duterte said.
“I have dealt with everybody in good faith. I’ve never foisted a lie,” the President added as he reiterated the need for peace, especially in Mindanao to pave the way for economic and industrial development.
But he stressed that development in Mindanao cannot be achieved and people will continue to go hungry for as long as there is war raging.
“Ito namang CPP/NPA, I was a student, I was there. I was really a spectator of how it evolved. So alam ko ngayon it’s fundamentally wrong for the Filipino to kill a citizen and for the rebels to wage a war that is… wala,” according to the President.
“Ilang taon na? You cannot even occupy a barangay,” he added, referring to the long-running communist insurgency in the country.
Duterte then cited the various instances, even before he became President, when he had to go out of his way just to express to the communist rebels the need for peace in Mindanao.
“Ako ‘yung pumupunta dito. Kinukuha ko ‘yung mga bihag na sundalo. Mga pulis,” Duterte recalled, adding that: “In return, you (CPP/NPA) had access to the city of Davao. Walang gumagalaw sa inyo. Kung may mamatay nga sa inyo, ako pa ang nagpapagador.” (Elena L. Aben)