MANILA - Military offensives against communist rebels will proceed even as the insurgents pledged to support President Rodrigo Duterte's war on illegal drugs, an army spokesman said Thursday.
There are no orders to stop offensives or issue guidelines on how to cooperate with the New People's Army (NPA) on the anti-narcotics drive, said Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Hao, army public affairs officer.
"Pag mababawasan ang drug use, mas masaya kami. Ngayon kung magkakasama kami, definitely 'di kami magkakasama nang sabay," Hao told DZMM.
In his first speech as commander-in-chief last Friday Duterte suggested that rebels "use your kangaroo courts to kill them to speed up the solution to our problem."
The Communist Party of the Philippines responded by issuing a call to "disarm and arrest the chieftains of the biggest drug syndicates."
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Monday the NPA's possible participation in Duterte's campaign should follow due process.
"Linawin lang po natin, iyung pagkakasabi ng ganoon -- ang move po ni President Duterte is to enlist the support of NPA to arrest or kill suspected drug lords. Kumbaga, kinikilala niya na mayroon din silang karapatan in order to be able to combat the whole war on drugs.
"Kung ano man ang mangyari, it will still go to process, hindi po ito basta free for all," he said.