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Gov’t vows to take decisive action against NPA rebels


By Genalyn Kabiling

The government has vowed to take decisive action against the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels believed to be responsible for the recent attacks in five provinces.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella (Richard V. Viñas / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella (Richard V. Viñas / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the rebel attacks on government troops deployed in Sarangani, South Cotabato, Surigao del Sur, Palawan and Masbate have fueled the “public’s doubt about the talks with the group.”

“The government will undertake appropriate steps to deal decisively with these forces that seem to have lost their sense of nation building,” Abella said during a Palace press briefing.

Abella has denounced the rebels for the attacking government security convoys in Masbate and Palawan.  A policeman was killed in Masbate while two soldiers were hurt in the Palawan ambush.

He said the rebel group also disarmed officials involved in the counterinsurgency program in Sarangani and South Cotabato.  The rebels also abducted a tribe leader and a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Surigao del Sur, he added.

Frustrated with the insincerity of the rebels, President Duterte recently showed no interest in reviving the peace talks with communists due to waste of government funds.

“Gastos lang ‘yan. Wala talagang mangyayari dyan (That’s just another expense. Nothing will happen there anyway),” the President said in an interview with PTV-4 television last Friday.

Duterte criticized the communists for rushing to get what they want in the peace process.  He said the rebels have been “impatient” with the peace process but he insisted that he needs “almost three years to hammer something.”

“Nakakadala kasi kung ano pinagsasabi… They are almost dreaming,” he said about the peace talks with the communists.

“When you come to a negotiation and you bring along a dream. Sometimes, it’s really impossible. ‘Yung gusto mo ‘yung, you do not go into the harsh realities of life, kung ang nandiyan. But you start to dream of things that are not really, that are unreachable stars. Mahirap ‘yan,” he said.

Peace talks between the government and the communists bogged down in May after a series of rebel attacks against government forces. Duterte insisted that he would only resume talks with the rebels if they agree to a ceasefire and stop extortion activities.


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