MANILA (UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday tagged the country’s communist rebels as enemies of the state who deserve to be bullied, in yet another signal of frayed ties between the President and the Left.
“I used to be friends with the NDF [National Democratic Front of the Philippines],” Duterte said in his State of the Nation Address.
“Times have changed because God placed me here. Bully daw ako. T*******o pala kayo, talagang bully ako. P****g i*a. Talagang bully ako especially to the enemies of the state,” the President said in an acerbic speech.
Talks between government and the NDFP have collapsed due to the spate of attacks of New People’s Army rebels against government troops.
The President particularly cited the NPAs’ attack on the Presidential Security Group in Arakan, North Cotabato.
“Pati ang pulis ko, araw-araw niyong ina-ambush… Pati ako papatayin. Convoy ko kasi iyon eh... Sabagay, malayo ako doon. Pero convoy ko 'yun. Ginamitan 'yun ng machine gun, kaya lang armorized,” he said.
He reiterated his earlier decision to halt peace negotiations with the communists.
"Kayong mga Left, I will not talk to you. Why should I?" Duterte told a joint session of Congress in a lengthy speech.
Ending the decades-old communist insurgency has been a top priority for Duterte, but talks have been on and off under the feisty leader, who has accused the communists of being two-faced amid continued armed attacks against state forces.
The President has also lambasted the rebels for collecting “revolutionary taxes” from businesses and ordinary people.
Friction between Duterte and communist leaders also escalated when the President placed the entire Mindanao under martial law to address the terror threat posed by Islamist extremists.
Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison, once Duterte’s professor, said pursuing talks with the President was already futile because of the latter’s “obsession” with martial law and mass murder.
In a statement Monday, Sison said negotiating is indeed a waste of time because Duterte is only interested in demanding the surrender of the revolutionary movement.
"Duterte thinks it is a waste of time to negotiate peace with the NDFP. It is because he is really not interested in peace negotiations concerning social, economic and political reforms to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace," Sison said.
The President had earlier claimed that Sison was afflicted by a bone marrow disease, something the exiled leader denied.
In a July interview, Sison said he was doing well despite his recent hospitalization. He, however, did not disclose his illness.
In a July interview, Sison said he was doing well despite his recent hospitalization. He, however, did not disclose the reason for his hospitalization.
Meanwhile, the President also urged militant groups holding a protest action around Batasang Pambansa to just go home because they would get nothing from the communist movement.
“To the communist rebels, kayong mga naiwan sa kalsada, mabuti pa umuwi na kayo. Wala kayong makuha sa komunista,” he said.
He also blasted urban poor group Kadamay, an organization associated with the Left, for sowing anarchy by occupying houses intended for policemen.
“Sumobra itong Left eh. Gawa ka ng bahay, nakawin,” he said.
“You do anarchy, I will order and police to shoot, even If I have to bury thousands of Filipinos. Let us understand this: either we have laws in this country or we don’t. I will also enforce laws against anarchy,” said the President.
To avoid violence, government had decided to let members of the urban poor group occupy houses in Bulacan. Duterte then promised to build bigger and better housing units for the policemen.