'No longer relevant': Duterte talks smack vs. NPA in anti-insurgency meeting

Published October 22, 2021, 9:50 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Communist armed group the New People’s Army (NPA) is no longer relevant to Filipinos.

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the joint meeting of the NTF-RTF ELCAC in Region IV-A in Lucena City, Quezon Province on Oct. 21, 2021 (Malacañang photo)

Thus, declared President Duterte on Thursday night, Oct. 21 during the joint meeting of the National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF ELCAC) in Region IV-A at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City, Quezon Province.

“You know in all the other programs about ELCAC usually I do not read my prepared speech because I have a very special statement to make to the NPAs,” Duterte said.

“Kaya lang wala sila dito (But they aren’t here right now) so I would dispense with my usual practice kasi gusto ko talagang sabihin sa kanila na (because I really want to tell them that) you are no longer relevant to the lives of the Filipino people,” he said, to the audience’s applause.

The NPA is the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which is considered a terrorist organization by the Philippine government.

The NTF-ELCAC has slammed the NPA for its alleged recruitment activities, which usually prey on the youth.

“But there has been really a — quite a reduction of the NPA activities. They are in Mindanao but limited to Northern Mindanao including Davao City,” Duterte said.

Turning to his formal speech for the event, the Chief Executive said: “Today, I stand before you to say with confidence that we are winning the war against communist insurgency in our country.”

(Malacañang photo)

“I would like to thank all the members of the Joint [NTF-RTF ELCAC] in Region IV-A for consistently standing up against the communist armed conflict in the region. Since your inception, you have brought significant improvements in the government’s fight against communist insurgency through a whole-of-nation approach and in the delivery of basic services in conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities,” he said.

“In all these efforts, we recognize the importance of grassroots participation of our people, especially at the barangay level, in attainment of the peace and serenity that we crave for. Thus, it is imperative that the Barangay Development Program does not only focus [on] ending local communist armed conflict, but also in uplifting the living conditions of the citizens in the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” added Duterte.

Despite the triumphant tone of his speech, the President still made his disdain toward the communist insurgents clear as day.

“Until now they continue to treat the barangay workers, barangay captains, who are sympathetic to the government or who are really pro-government pati ‘yung mga sundalo ko, mga pulis ko (even my soldiers and my police), they continue to kill them.

“More than 50, 52, 53 years of fighting, all that they had until now achieved was to slaughter the Filipinos. Kaya po talagang (That’s why really) — where it comes from the heart, it does not carry bitterness or vengeance but as a worker of government sometimes I cannot escape my role to play,” he said.