MANILA, Philippines — At the rate President Rodrigo Duterte is going, he is “bound to outdo the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in becoming the best recruiter for the New People’s Army,” the Communist Party of the Philippines said Thursday, January 11.
“Unwittingly, Duterte and the AFP are also best suppliers of new arms for the armed revolution as they squander billions of pesos on new weapons and materiel,” it added.
The statement was an obvious reference to how the ranks of the NPA grew as people were driven to take up arms by the worsening atrocities committed during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, who declared martial law in 1972 claiming it was needed to quell the then nascent communist revolutionary movement.
The CPP earlier ordered the NPA to undertake more attacks in response to the yearlong extension of martial law in Mindanao that Congress approved and called Duterte’s ouster the revolutionary movement’s “most important” task.
Mindanao was originally placed under martial law for 60 days last May 23, after fighting broke out between government forces and extremist gunmen in Marawi City. When this period lapsed, Congress approved an extension until the end of 2017.
However, despite declaring Marawi “liberated” in late October, Duterte, on the recommendation of the military and police, sought an extension for the whole of 2018 claiming it was necessary to address the continuing threat not only from extremists who survived Marawi but also from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf and the communists, with whom he had terminated peace talks.
In its statement, the CPP also called Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Rey Guerrero “delusional” for saying the military could reduce the strength of the New People’s Army “by half” within the year.
It noted that this contradicted the statement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who said it was “farfetched” to believe the NPA could be defeated in a year, although the CPP said the admission was “an obvious attempt to justify extending martial law beyond 2018.”
At the same time, the CPP said Lorenzana was also “delusional” for calling the rebels “bankrupt” for seeking alliances with other forces against Duterte.
“His statement only betrays the AFP and Duterte’s fear of such an alliance,” it said.
“Coupled with his naked ambition to install a fascist dictatorship and monopolize bureaucratic loot and power, Duterte is bound to grow more isolated as he rides roughshod over the institutions which his opponents have vowed to defend,” thus “providing the New People’s Army and the revolutionary movement an ever more fertile ground for the people’s war to grow and prosper,” the CPP said.