MANILA - Malacañang on Monday slammed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison for saying that the New People Army (NPA) is still capable of launching attacks that could kill one government soldier a day and force the government to return to the negotiation table.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque belittled Sison’s warning, saying the Philippine government is capable of addressing the communist insurgency which has been gripping parts the Philippines for about five decades.
“Bakit kami luluhod? Ano ba ang akala niya sa hukbong sandataan, hindi natin sila kaya? Manood siya. Ayaw ng Presidente sana na dumanak ng dugo, pero wag niyang tatakutin iyong gobyerno na parang kontrolado nila ang teritoryo ng Pilipinas,” Roque said in a news conference.
Roque added that even prior to Sison’s threat and the termination of the peace talks, the NPA was already carrying out attacks against state troops.
“Wala namang pagbabago sa posisyon ng NPA. Nag-uusap na nga ng kapayapaan tina-target pa rin nila ang kasundaluhan, so ano ang bago doon? Walang bago doon,” he said.
Sison, in a statement posted on Sunday, said the Philippine government, “with or without Duterte as president… will decide to negotiate peace when the people’s war can inflict larger casualties on enemy troops.”
“The NPA in 17 regions has actually the capacity of knocking out at least one AFP soldier every day per region. That eliminates at least 510 enemy troops or some 5 companies every month nationwide,” he said.
“That translates to the elimination of some 60 companies or 20 basic battalions every year. The NPA has the advantage of having a just cause and enjoying the support of the people and being able to launch ambushes and raids by surprise.”
Duterte in November last year terminated peace talks with the National Democratic Front amid the NPA’s attacks against government troops despite the ongoing peace talks.
Duterte and Sison have since been engaging in a word war, with the Chief Executive threatening to order the arrest of his former political science professor and the CPP founding chair questioning his former student’s mental stability.
Meanwhile, Roque slammed Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao for raising the possibility of the NPA arresting members of the Philippine government peace panel following the arrest of NDF consultant Rafael Baylosis.
Roque said it appeared that Casilao was “privy to information from inside the New People’s Army.”
“He sounded like he was speaking on behalf of the NPA with his warning that government negotiators may also be arrested by the NPA. That will be crime. That would be kidnapping,” he said.