President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday warned the New People’s Army (NPA), saying that the communist rebels should stop waging war against the government.
The President expressed his frustration over the continuing attacks by the NPA on government forces despite the ongoing peace talks.
“Would you please stop waging war? Alam mo hindi ko kayo maintindihan. Unang sabi doon sa itaas, si Sison ordered to engage government forces in this struggle… That they changed it so that they will stop until such time matapos itong sa Marawi siege. Kasi walang — ang sabi ko nga eh, there will never be a space for you kung terrorist ka, kayong mga komunista. Wala kayong space diyan sa terorista,” Duterte said.
“In the meantime kung mag-usap tayo in the future, then stop waging war kasi baka itong mga sundalo ayaw na rin makipag-usap,” Duterte said during the 50th Araw ng Davao del Sur held at the Davao del Sur Coliseum in Digos City.
“Kami, utusan lang kami lahat. We are just co-workers in government basta pulis. But the only reason na medyo mataas ako, but I do not control everything and I cannot control everybody,” he said.
“You decide. Do not create something which is not acceptable also to me and to the guys doing the fighting,” he added.
At the same time, the President renewed his commitment to bring peace to the country, reiterating his intention to negotiate with major rebel groups, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.
However, he said the government will never negotiate with the ISIS-inspired Maute group that occupied Marawi City.
The President also mentioned the ongoing conflict in Marawi City, sympathizing with the soldiers fighting for the city’s liberation from the Maute group.
He said he always prays that the war will end soon because he does not like people dying.
He said the military offensive in Marawi City will continue until the last terrorist is taken out.
The President meanwhile underscored the hard work of the Davao del Sur’s founding fathers.
“So, one is that I would like to credit the founding fathers of this province for their tireless effort to make what is now Digos,” the President said.
“Maganda na ang Digos ngayon, Davao del Sur,” he noted.
The President however said the only concern today for the province is illegal drugs, as he warned the local police force to stay away from the drug trade.
“Alam mo, ang problema lang ninyo is droga. Medyo malakas pati — I’m also — I would like to warn the police here,” Duterte said.
“Lay off sa drugs ha, kamong mga pulis kay alam mo na. Huwag kayong pumasok diyan kasi kasali kayo sa statistics diyan,” he said. (PND/PNA)