By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has offered PHP2-million reward money to anyone who can either capture or kill the top commanders of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Duterte, during his meeting with Cabinet officials on Monday night, announced that he would give a bounty for every top NPA commander arrested or killed.
“Kapag nakapatay kayo ng commander o nakaturo kayo kung saan natutulog ang commander o nakitulog, sabihin lang ninyo sa akin at PHP2 million ang top commander (If you kill or point where a commander is hiding, tell me and I will give you PHP2 million each for a top commander),” he said in a speech aired over state-run PTV-4.
Duterte’s latest pronouncement came, as he once again expressed ire over the NPA’s series of attacks against the government forces who are assisting local governments in addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Duterte assured informants that they would be treated as witnesses and would get protection from the government.
He said he would relocate the recipients of the reward money for safety purposes.
He added that he would give them a “new identity” to protect them as well as land for their relocation.
“‘Yung mga squealer, you will be given a new identity kagaya ng (that is similar to an informant under the) Witness Protection Program. It need not be under a Witness Protection Program but I order that they be treated, taken as a witness,” Duterte said.
On April 27, Duerte said he was no longer bent on holding another series of peace negotiations with the CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front because NPA rebels have “no respect” for government troops engaged in relief work amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Duterte told informants to make a report to either the police or the military.
He warned them to avoid telling local officials because some are NPA sympathizers.
“The reason why they (NPA rebels) thrive until now is because there are some local officials that are actively supporting the Communist Party of the Philippines. Iyan ang totoo diyan (That’s the truth),” Duterte said.
Duterte no longer declared an extension of the national government’s truce with CPP, which lapsed on April 15, due to the ceaseless attacks of NPA insurgents against the soldiers and policemen amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Duterte’s latest directive to the state forces was to kill NPA rebels.
“Mag-sabi ako ng totoo, ang gusto ko, kasi pinapatay ang mga sundalo ko pati pulis, ang order ko, patayin ninyo. Patayin ninyo kasi kung hindi ninyo papatayin, papatayin talaga kayo (I will tell you frankly, my order is kill them because they are killing my soldiers and policemen. Kill them because if you don’t, they will really kill you),” he said.
The CPP-NPA has been tagged as a terror group by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Duterte said his administration is ready to fight the CPP-NPA and also willing to “die for the country”.
“I respect their decision in life – to die for their principle. ‘Yun iyan (That’s it). Eh kami dito (We are) also like you, we are at disposal of our destiny. Handa rin kaming mamatay para sa bayan (We are also ready to die for the country),” he said.