Reds make presence felt in Metro Manila suburb
SAN PEDRO CITY — Police here on Thursday wielded paint rollers to clean up walls and bridge railings painted with messages by communist rebels or their supporters in what appeared to be a gesture of taunting President Rodrigo Duterte, who had declared he would finish off the rebels by the end of his term in 2022.
The messages seemed to be intended as a show of force by rebels for the 50th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Dec. 26, which rebel forces would celebrate nationwide.
Supt. Giovannie Martinez, city police director, said policemen had covered eight sites, among them bridges and building façades, which had served as canvases of rebels for messages of support written in red spray paint.
Some of the markings, urging people to join the 50-year communist rebellion, appeared to be meant for CPP’s anniversary, according to Martinez.
“It’s a propaganda war,” he said.
Martinez, however, believed the markings did not mean the rebels’ presence in this urban city, but the presence of rebel “sympathizers or network.”
He said cleaning up walls and other infrastructure of messages of support for rebels meant “added cost and work for us.”
“The money came from our own pockets,” Martinez added.
He said if police allowed the vandalism to fester, other vandals, like those from street gangs, were likely to follow suit.
San Pedro City, according to Martinez, has an ordinance against vandalism.
In a recent series of rants, the President kept repeating his threat to let out the dogs of war against communist rebels, saying “blood will flow.”
He also said that communist rebels deserved no mercy and ordered the forming of assassination squads targeting rebels, their sympathizers or anyone adjudged to be likely to join rebels.
The President accused the rebels of insincerity, citing CPP’s declaration of a unilateral truce which its own armed wing, NPA, violated.
The rebels had declared a two-step truce. The first would start at midnight of Dec. 24 and end at midnight of Dec. 26. The second would start at midnight of Dec. 31 and end at midnight of Jan. 1.
The President expressed rage at continuing attacks by rebels, like those on police stations in Camarines Sur and Sorsogon, after the truce declaration.
But CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said the NPA attacks were not yet covered by the truce since it has not taken effect yet.
The President, Sison said, “has disdain for the ceasefire” declared by rebels.
“But he demands that the NPA ceases fire on days outside of the time frame of the five-day ceasefire,” Sison said. —With a report from Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
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