The Armed Forces are well-prepared against the communist rebels, the Palace assured the public on Thursday after the New People’s Army vowed to intensify its offensives to oust President Rodrigo Duterte this year.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said communist leader Jose Maria Sison posed no threat to the government, but they were wary of the rebels in the country.
“Sison poses no threat, but the armed rebels on the ground that attack and ambush government forces are a threat. But our Armed Forces are ready for that,” Panelo said.
He made the statement even as Senator Panfilo Lacson said the communists’ “priority” of ousting a sitting President in 2019 was another reason to tag the New People’s Army as a terrorist group.
Lacson said too many lives had already been lost in the 50 years that the CPP and its armed wing, the National People’s Army, had been trying to overthrow the government.
“He [CPP founder Sison] has been at it for the past 50 years and so many lives have been lost already,” Lacson said.
“The DOJ should follow up with the court the proscription case versus the NPA as a terrorist group as per Section 2 of Republic Act 9372.”
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Benjamin Madrigal said he was looking forward to the operationalization of Executive Order 70, or the “National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” which would immensely help the government in its ongoing anti-insurgency campaign.
In a statement forwarded to reporters on Thursday, Madrigal stressed the need for all government agencies to come together to eradicate the root causes of conflict and violence.
The CPP recently announced it would intensify its tactical offensives and strengthen its movements as it expected things to get worse under the Duterte leadership.
Sison even said they would cooperate with all possible allies in the broad united front to “isolate and oust the Duterte regime from power.”
“We will base plans and directives on the strength accumulated in 50 years of the revolutionary struggle and the current circumstances and demands of the people,” the 79-year-old communist leader said in a statement Tuesday.
“We will carry out the tasks to further strengthen and advance the Party and the revolutionary movement of the people.”
Panelo shrugged off Sison’s statement.
“He is an illusionist, a visionary that has become illusory. I think it’s time for him to have enlightenment,” Panelo said.
“But I don’t blame him given the fact that he is many thousands of miles away,” and out of touch with reality. With Macon Ramos-Araneta and PNA