By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
President Duterte has said the military may be able to finish off the New People’s Army before 2019 ends as their numbers start to dwindle.
Duterte, in a speech in Pampanga, hopes that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be able to finally overcome the threat of the rebel group.
“So we are trying to really go out and just embrace them as brothers and at no other time, maraming armas. If they become decimated by the number of surrenderees, maybe the Armed Forces can finish them off next year at mawala na ‘to,” he said.
Duterte praised local chief executives in Mindanao and security forces for being active in convincing NPA rebels to return to the fold of the law.
“They can take whatever initiatives they want but…And the killing continues but at no other time are the NPAs surrendering with their firearms,” he said.
“So mabuti’t na lang, marami na ang nag-surrender and also, I’d like to congratulate the Armed Forces and everybody, ‘yung mga mayors pati pulis, they are active in convincing people,” he added.
Duterte expressed concern for those who have surrendered because he knows that the remaining NPA rebels will try to hunt them down, especially because they decided to also surrender their firearms to the authorities.
“It is taboo to them here and in Mindanao, everywhere, na ‘pag nag-surrender ka tapos ibigay mo ‘yung armas mo sa sundalo o sa pulis, so talagang hahuntingin ka,” he said.
Duterte has hosted a meal for three batches of former NPA rebels in Malacañang and in Davao City in the past two months. During these occasions, the President criticized Communist Party of the Philippines founder Joma Sison, saying his former professor thinks he owns the government.
Sison claimed that the surrenders were just mere propaganda of the Duterte administration. “The Duterte regime looks ridiculous and even funny by staging the fake surrenders of NPA fighters and their supporters,” Sison said.