MANILA — It is unnecessary to join the communist struggle because the government is willing to distribute lands, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said on Monday.
He made this remark in his speech before more than 700 beneficiaries during the ceremonial distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) in Buluan, Maguindanao.
“Up to now, I have about 60,000 hectares already nung na-Presidente ako (when I became President). Hindi na natin kailangan ang NPA (We no longer need the New People’s Army). What for?” Duterte said in his speech.
“‘Yan man ang mga kampanya nila — ibigay nila ang lupa sa tao. Kaya ko mang ibigay ‘yan. Ibinibigay ko na nga (Their campaign is to give land to the people. I can give them that. I have actually already given land),” he added.
Duterte also slammed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison for justifying the communist rebels’ collection of revolutionary taxes for what the exiled revolutionary leader calls the “people’s government.”
“Ano bang hindi namin maibigay? Fifty-three years kayong nakipaglabanan sa gobyerno, ni hindi kayo makahawak ng isang barangay. Tapos gusto niyo patayan lang palagi (What can’t we give? You’ve been fighting against the government for 53 years and you can’t even conquer one barangay. Then you just want to perpetrate the killing),” he said.
The President described the collection of revolutionary taxes as a form of extortion.
“Tapos mag-dream ka na kailangan ka mag-extort kasi ‘yung inyong gobyerno kailangan mabuhay. ‘Yun ang statement ni Sison. Anong gobyerno? Kailan ka ba nagkaroon ng gobyerno? (And then you dream that you need to extort money because your government needs to be funded. That’s Sison’s statement. What government? When did you ever have your own government?)” he added.
Last week, Duterte offered to reopen peace talks but Sison shut it down and described it as an “insult to the revolutionary movement.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo advised Sison to instead rejoin society and contribute his intellect and expertise to peaceful dialogues for the betterment of all Filipinos.
“Sison must step down from his ivory tower and extend his hands for peace, for his own sake, for his followers, for the Filipino people, for his country he loves so well,” Panelo said.
“It is time to rejoin society. There is nothing dishonorable in accepting defeat. There is another path for change other than armed struggle. Filipinos cannot continue killing Filipinos,” he added.
In 2017, Duterte terminated peace talks with the communist rebels following continued attacks against government troops and their insistence to collect revolutionary taxes.
The CPP-NPA has been tagged as a terror group by the United States and the European Union. (PNA) By Azer Parrocha