MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte warned Friday he "might declare martial law" if communist rebels continue their deadly attacks on state troops while the Philippines struggled to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Despite a truce between communists and the state due to the COVID-19 crisis, clashes with suspected members of the New People's Army killed 3 soldiers in Negros Occidental last Sunday and 2 other soldiers helping distribute cash aid to poor residents in Aurora province, Wednesday.
"'Pag nagpatuloy kayo ng lawlessness ninyo, patay dito, patay doon, and it's happening all over the Philippines, maybe I will declare martial law because kayong mga NPA ang numero uno. Kinukuha ninyo iyong mga tulong sa tao, pati iyong supply, pagkain nila," said Duterte.
(If you continue your lawlessness, killings here and there, and it's happening all over the Philippines, maybe I will declare martial law because you NPAs are number one. You get the aid for the people, even their supplies, food.)
"I am now warning everybody and putting notice sa Armed Forces and the police, I might declare martial law and there will be no turning back," he added.
Duterte also told the NPA that he would "try to finish all of you" in the last 2 years of his presidency.
"Ang utos ko sa kanila (troops), patayin kayo... Lahat na. Tapusin na natin ito sa panahon ko," he said.
(My order for them is to kill you. All of you. Let's finish this in my term.)
The President said he would also go after communists' legal fronts which supply their funding.
"Pati kayong mga legal. 'Wag niyong sabihin na p******** wala kayo," he said.
(Even you, the legal fronts. Don't say you did nothing wrong.)
"Kung sabihin ninyo na sisirain ko ang demokrasya -- hindi. Lulutasin ko ang demokrasya sa inyo," he added.
(If you say that I will destroy democracy -- no. I will resolve democracy.)