PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is willing to pay a reward of P25,000 for every New People’s Army member killed by non-communists, raising the previous bounty of P20,000.
The President declared this Tuesday in front of a crowd, including city and municipal mayors and military personnel at the Brigadier General Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu City.
Speaking in the Sugbuhanon language, Duterte asked why these people—the New People’s Army members—follow Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison who was living a comfortable life in The Netherlands while his armed rebels were in the mountains starving and fighting the government for what he called a pointless ideology.
In an official translated transcript forwarded to the media Thursday, Duterte said the new offer to members of indigenous communities was in response to Sison’s threat that the NPA could kill one soldier a day to force the resumption of peace talks.
“I’m placing a premium of P25,000. If you work really hard to crawl across the forest, you’ll surely be able to shoot even just one. If you can shoot a bird above you, then how much more about an [NPA] whose head is so big?” Duterte said.
The President said the method of counter-insurgency would be much cheaper because in four yours time, the military could save at least 47 percent in the campaign against terrorism.
“If it would take us four years, shit.. it’s going to be expensive and paying P25,000 for every NPA member is much cheaper,” he said.
During the meeting, the President expressed apprehension over the rising number of rebels turning into illegal drug activities, which he described as members of ISIS .
ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and is an extremist militant group that rules by Wahhabi/Salafi law. In Arabic, the group is also known as Daesh. An example of ISIS is the terrorist group that is known for kidnapping western journalists and aid workers as part of their tactics.
“I have a problem with drugs. And I’m giving the caveat, the warning that there seems to be a regrouping again. But this time, it is… I don’t know about the Maranaos…” he said.
“It seems as if they are already spreading. And this ISIS. We consider them ISIS already. All the groups have been contaminated, the Abu Sayyaf, all of them.—Any and all have pledged allegiance to ISIS,” he said.
Duterte likewise expressed fear that a similar Marawi siege would occur in the Visayas or in Luzon because of the menace of drugs.
“On my part, I’m worried about what’s going to happen. It has happened in Marawi. My only worry is that they are really out, dispersed in the Visayas and maybe in Luzon,” the President said.
Duterte warned the local government officials against the spread of illegal drugs, saying it would destroy the younger generations of Filipinos.
But the President said the government would always be ready to defend the country from terrorists and illegal drugs as the military was far superior in number.