The government seeks to be victorious in its war against communist insurgency before his successor takes over, President Rodrigo Duterte committed yesterday.
Speaking before newly-elected local officials in Malacanang, the Chief Executive cited some of the major concerns his administration must place under control as he finishes the first half of his presidency.
“I have the Mindanao problem. I have the drug problem which I have to control during my last three years. Then there’s the NPA (New People’s Army),” he said in his speech Tuesday night.
“The NPA is really nearing its end. It is in the throes of death. They have no more fronts. They’ve fallen down. In Eastern Mindanao, they used to have 16 fronts, now they’re left with two,” he added.
He went on by saying that the ongoing modernization of the military is largely the reason communist rebel forces have strongly weakened under his watch.
Modernization hurts Reds
According to him, the NPA is “no match” against the government’s strong military defense especially with the continuing acquisition of armaments and other defense equipment for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to ensure their capability of protecting the nation and the citizenry from both inside and outside threats.
“It’s about too late in the day to be talking about toppling the government,” Mr. Duterte said.
“I have a strong army. I already bought everything and I’m still buying more because I would like to leave the office with a strong Armed Forces,” he added.
Just recently, the Philippine Navy showcased the first batch of its newly acquired Amphibious Assault Vehicles and anti-submarine helicopters. More are scheduled to arrive within the remainder of the year.
Obviously pleased, the President expressed confidence that the acquisition of the Navy’s new assets will boost its capabilities in combatting different threats like piracy, terrorism, kidnapping, and human trafficking.
He also vowed that by the time he leaves Malacanang, the Philippine military can already “challenge anyone to war.”
Poor becomes poorer
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy added the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, NPA, have kept the poor poorer in the Philippines.
Speaking before members of the US-Philippines Society headed by its Executive Director Hank Hendrickson and President, Ambassador John Maisto, Badoy said the communist terrorist group has wounded the Filipinos’ psyche by teaching the language of hate and mistrust against even the most sincere and hardworking public servants.
“And they do this because in agitating us, in keeping the poor stuck in poverty, and by obstructing progress are where they stand to gain the most,” she said in a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC.
She said the extensive organizational structure of the CPP-NPA and the National Democratic Front has infiltrated all sectors of Philippine society such as women, youth, farmers, media, church, indigenous peoples (IPs), and even the United Nations system.
Fake news proponents
“And that now spans continents and is in 39 countries including North America via its legal fronts, which have used the poorest among Filipinos and their indigenous brothers and sisters as their milking cow, asking for funds from unwitting international organizations and governments which are fed patent lies about the country to get those funds,” she added.
Badoy lamented how these donations are used to fund terrorism and poverty in the country.
She added that communists use alternative schools to turn IP children into child warriors so that they become killing machines when they reach 10 years old or even younger.
“They have destroyed the culture of the IPs by stealing cultural concepts and terms and making it mean what they want it to mean to further their violent agenda,” she told the audience consisting of officials of United States Agency for International Development, and US State Department, and PhD students of Cornell University and Georgetown University.