Duterte’s all-out war order ‘like a broken record’ – Joma
LUCENA CITY –– Top communist rebel leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison likened President Duterte’s repeated order for an all-out war against Maoist-inspired New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas to a “broken record.”
“Duterte is like a broken record repeating his proclamations of all-out war and termination of peace negotiations,” Sison, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder said in an online interview from his base in Utrecht in the Netherlands on Thursday morning.
On Tuesday, President Duterte renewed his order for government forces to launch an all-out war against NPA rebels across the country.
With Duterte’s repeated order to annihilate the NPA rebels, Sison said the prospect on the possible resumption of the stalled peace negotiations with the government has long been dead.
“There is no more hope that peace negotiations can resume so long as Duterte is in power,” Sison said.
On Nov. 23 last year, President Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360 that terminated the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The President also terminated the appointment of all government peace negotiators.
Mr. Duterte accused the communist rebels of insincerity for its continued attacks on government forces that also victimized civilians.
But the President has repeatedly changed his mind and declared that he was still open to resuming peace talks.
However, he demanded that the communists declare a ceasefire and stop extortion before returning to the negotiation table.
Sison said President Duterte “has been failing in his scheme to destroy the revolutionary movement.”
“Under E.O. 70, Duterte is also failing in his military strategy and tactics,” he said.
In December 2018, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 that created a national task force to end local communist armed conflict in the Philippines. The order taps government agencies and the private sector to bring basic services to the countryside and address the root causes of rebellion.
Sison said even if the government forces increase the number of combat units, “they are ineffective because they are rendered deaf and blind by the people’s support for the revolutionary movement.”
“We are engaging the New People’s Army all out — employing and utilizing all its resources in a focused, surgical, and deliberate lethal and non-lethal operations towards the decisive defeat of the communist terrorists,” AFP spokesperson Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a message to reporters through the state-run Philippine National Agency.
According to the military, there were ongoing mass surrenders of NPA fighters from different parts of the country.
From January this year up to July 24, 5,788 surrendered, 145-captured and 95-killed. The military also reported that the communist guerrillas lost 945 high-powered firearms and 260 NPA camps dismantled, the AFP reported. /lzb
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