MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday said he "can do better 10 times over" whatever the New People's Army (NPA) could do.
The rebel group is suspected of mounting another deadly attack over the weekend.
A government militiaman was killed and another wounded after NPA rebels allegedly ambushed them in Quezon province on Saturday. Soldiers and militiamen were reportedly guarding local police who had just finished a food aid mission at that time.
"They do not have ideology," Duterte said of the NPA. "Wala na silang prinsipyo, sa ulo nila makipag-away. They are there to plunder and just for the sheer brutality of it all, they want to kill all soldiers."
(They have no principle in fighting.)
He then said no peace talks "can succeed under me or any other president if you do not stop attacking government forces and civilian leaders."
"What you can do, I can do better 10 times over. Ang kaya n’yo, kayo kong gawin (I can do what you can), so I would know how to deal with you," Duterte added in a taped speech.
"You are insensitive of the plight of the people na kailangan ng pagkain at tulong ng gobyerno (who need food and government help)," he said.
The President said the government does not lack in aiding the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Bilyon ‘yang amin," he said.
(Ours amount to billions.)
He told families of slain soldiers, "The nation is very grateful to you, and we would know also how to reciprocate their bravery… Justice will be served sa kanila (to them) in the end."
The Philippine communist rebellion, one of the world's longest insurgencies, has killed more than 40,000 people.
In March, Duterte told police and the military to "ignore human rights" in going after communist rebels. Nine activists were killed in separate raids against suspected insurgents just days after his statement.
Human Rights Watch said the government’s counter-insurgency campaign no longer makes a distinction between armed rebels and non-combatant activists, labor leaders, and rights defenders.
Since coming to power in 2016, Duterte has seen his efforts to forge peace with communist rebels derailed repeatedly, prompting frequent outbursts and threats to wipe them out.
— With a report from Reuters
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Video courtesy of RTVM