MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday told the public to expect “a little trouble” in the coming months as he called on the military to end the decades-long communist insurgency.
“I am telling the military, kindly end it now. We can’t afford to pass it in the next generations. It has to be now,” Duterte said in a speech at the 31st anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Quezon City.
“I’m serving notice to everybody that in the coming months, it will be— not really bloody, but there will be a little trouble. We have to finish it,” he added.
Speaking before land agrarian reform beneficiaries, Duterte slammed the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA) anew for allegedly taking advantage of and recruiting those who have yet to benefit from the country’s land reform program.
"Ito namang mga rabble-rouser na komunista, walang ginawa kung hindi magbola ng tao, promising number one ‘yang land reform. So ang dapat gawin talaga ng gobyerno is to take away from them the richest issue of them all, land," Duterte said.
"Kunin mo ang initiative mula sa komunista. What they’re parlaying is land. Unahan na natin, eh di ibigay na natin," he said.
Duterte said land reform will still be the program of the state even if the communist movement did not exist.
"Sa komunista, if you did not exist, land reform will still be the program of any government dito sa Pilipinas. Because even without the element of violence and armed struggle, dadating talaga ang panahon you'd have to distribute land to people," the President said.
Duterte had sought to end the country’s insurgency problem shortly after he assumed office in 2016. But government talks with communist rebels have failed to reach any conclusion.
In 2017, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 60 which formally terminated negotiations with communist rebels. A month later, he signed Executive Order No. 70 ordering the creation of a task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”