By Roy Mabasa
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday branded the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels as “mere criminals” who are involved in killings and extortion.
Speaking at the Barangay Summit on Governance in Davao City, the President also warned the communist rebels that time will come that he will no longer accept surrenderees and will just “shoot them on site.”
‘Pag nakita ko kayo babarilin ko kayo. Wala na surrender-surrender because you are cruel and brutal people. You do not deserve mercy,” Duterte said.
Since rebellion is a continuing crime, he said NPA rebels could be arrested even without a warrant.
“Why do I need to have a warrant? By the fact that you are a rebel you are a 24-hour violator of the Revised Penal Code. It attaches to your person unless you surrender or you die,” he said.
On December 4, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 ordering the creation of a national task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”
The EO likewise seeks to institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach in inclusive and sustainable peace and adopt a national peace framework.
“Towards this end, the Government shall prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict-affected areas and -vulnerable communities, facilitate societal inclusivity, and ensure active participation of all sectors of society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda,” read a portion of the EO.
The President sits as chair of the task force while the National Security Adviser serves as the vice-chair.
In November last year, Duterte called off the peace negotiations between the government and the communist group following continued attacks by the rebels on military forces and civilians.