MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he is eyeing to declare communist rebels as terrorists.
Duterte reiterated that he is “not anymore inclined” to continue the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
“I’ll be issuing a proclamation. I will remove them from the category of a legal entity or at least a semi-movement which would merit our attention, placing them pareho sa (like) Amerika, terrorist,” Duterte said Saturday.
The CPP and NPA are on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations since Aug. 9, 2002. The Arroyo administration requested for the rebel group’s inclusion on the list.
Duterte said he would also consider the communists as “criminals” and insisted that there would be “no more rebellion.”
Last July, Duterte said he would no longer talk with communist rebels, but he vowed to pursue peace up to his last day in office and even beyond. However, in September, he took back his statement and said he is open to resuming peace negotiations with the communist rebels again.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Duterte probably lost his patience in dealing with the CPP-NPA. He cited that Duterte wanted to resolve the peace issue with the rebels during the start of his term.
“By and large ang tingin namin dito, nagpapatuloy ang economic sabotage ng grupong ito (NPA). Kung siya (Duterte) man na nagsabi na maaari na niyang irekumendang tawaging terorista ang NPA, nararapat lang siguro dahil sa ipinamamalas nilang mga aksyon,” Padilla said in a radio interview with dzBB on Sunday.
The communists have been waging an insurgency against the Philippine government for 50 years.