For presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., communist rebels are enemies of the state for the simple reason that they bring harm to the people.
Marcos Jr. gave this response Tuesday night, Feb. 15 after he and three other "presidentiables" who attended SMNI's presidential debate were asked if they would declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF-NPA) as enemies if they become the country's leader.
"Ngayon papaano naman natin papayagan sabihin na tumutulong satin o kaibigan natin ang isang grupo na nang-bobomba, namamaril? (How could we befriend a certain group if it is bombing us and shooting at us?)" Marcos Jr. said, referring to the Reds.
"Sa palagay ko wala na tayong ibang maaring sabihin kundi tratuhin silang kalaban, dahil kinakalaban tayo, kaya't kailangan natin ipagtanggol ang ating sarili (For me, there is no other way for us aside from treating them as enemies, because we have to defend ourselves from them)," he said, adding that he also does not subscribe to the idea of armed struggle against the government.
Marcos Jr. also said there is a need to continue the peace talks with the communist rebels "until we come up with an agreement of peace".
He cited the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict's (NTF-ELCAC) Balik-Loob program as an effective way to address insurgencies, but he admitted it was not enough.
"Wala sigurong iisang solusyon (There is perhaps no one solution)," he added.
Currently, the government's approach to end insurgency is being done at the local level. While it is effective, Marcos Jr. said there is also a need to do it on a national scale.
He also said proper distribution of wealth, providing equal opportunities or access to education are among the other solutions to contain local insurgencies.
"Marami pang malaking social problems na kailangan tugunan (There are still more social problems that we need to address)," he added.