Duterte orders military to 'kill' armed NPA rebels

Published May 12, 2021, 10:24 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Destroy them all.

President Duterte delivers a speech during a visit to a military camp in Maguindanao on May 11, 2021 (Malacañang)

President Duterte issued the directive to the military on how to deal with the New People’s Army (NPA) during a visit to Maguindanao Tuesday.

The President renewed his order to the government troops to shoot and kill armed communist rebels on sight, as he tackled the threats to security in the country.

“Nandiyan ‘yong NPA, isa pa rin ‘yan. Iyang NPA my orders is really to destroy them (NPA is one of them. On the NPA, my order is really to destroy them),” Duterte said before an assembly of military officers and personnel as well as Bangsamoro government officials at a military camp in Maguindanao.

“Basta makita mo na NPA magdala ng armas, sabi ko patayin mo. Wala nang istorya-istorya because patayin ka rin talaga niyan (If you see a NPA carrying a weapon, I said kill him. No more talk because he will really kill you),” he said.

Duterte flew to Maguindanao Tuesday to meet with local leaders as well as government troops following the attack of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters at a town’s public market. The commander-in-chief has asked the Bangsamoro government officials to help quell the threat of the BIFF or else he would be forced to declare an all-out offensive against these rebels for “full-blown terrorism.”

In a visit to Cagayan de Oro last March, the President first ordered the troops to shoot and kill armed rebels and return their bodies to their families.

Duterte, dismayed by the rebel atrocities, said he was prepared to go to jail over his latest directive, choosing to prioritize the lives of government security forces over enemies of the state.

He claimed the NPA rebels were fighting a lost cause and could only “die for nothing.” They were simply “bandits” without any ideology, he added.

In 2017, the President issued Proclamation No. 374 designating the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist organization. The proclamation noted that the group is included in the list of foreign terror groups issued by the United States.

Peace talks were also terminated by the President in the same year in protest of the rebel atrocities committed against troops and the lives and properties of innocent people.