President Duterte has ordered government troops to shoot and kill instantly communist rebels holding a gun and return their bodies to their families.
The President said he was prepared to go to jail over his latest directive as he deplored the atrocities committed by the communist rebels in the country.
“How do you intend to overthrow government? Do you think I’ll allow government to be defeated? Well, I rarely ever… That’s why I told the military and police that during encounters if the enemy is holding a gun, kill them. Kill them right away,” he said during a visit to Cagayan de Oro City Friday.
“Tell the human rights (advocates) that it’s my order. I’ll be the one to go to jail. No problem,” he said.
In ordering the troops to neutralize armed rebels, Duterte said he has no qualms “about doing the things that I have to do.” He also argued that the rebels were fighting a lost cause and could only “die for nothing.” He said they were simply “bandits” without any ideology.
If the rebels wanted to fight the government, Duterte said apart from soldiers and policemen, the government has “plenty of tanks” to defeat them.
“Your ways are not ideal. But I told the military to shoot and kill right away if they see you holding a gun. Just return the body to the family,” he said.
“You’re just trying to hold on to this war. In one of the encounters, maybe you will get shot and die for nothing,” he said.
Duterte also lectured the communist rebels about the “right thing to do.” “You don’t oppress your fellowmen, you don’t wage a war that you will never win. You are all bandits. You have no ideology. All communist countries, China and Russia, they are capitalists now,” he said.
Despite his war rhetoric, Duterte is still urging the rebels to lay down their arms, promising to give them livelihood and shelter.
“To those of you who don’t want war, to those of you who understand what’s wrong and right, you know that even if you did something bad, we will still welcome you,” he said.
“I’ll give you a house and a job. And while you don’t have a job, I’ll give you rice. I’ll also find a job for your wife,” he added.
Last December, Duterte ruled out declaring any ceasefire with the communist rebel group during the remainder of his term and vowed to “destroy” them over their atrocities. He admitted that he “walked away” from the peace talks with the communist rebel group “because we cannot understand each other.”