President Duterte has today (Friday, July 21) told the communists that the time for talking is over, following a series of attacks on government troops.
Speaking at a Davao City investment forum, the president said he was “tired” of talking to communist rebels and that they should just fight it out instead.
Following an attack on a presidential security team by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on Wednesday, the president announced an end to informal peace talks.
In response, Jose Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the president’s former college professor, accused him of being a bully.
“Correct! 100 per cent,” was the president’s response. “I bully people who want to overthrow the government, that is my job.
“I am here to bully you and to kill you because there’s a war going on between us and you are killing my soldiers.
“Maybe, I will kill you if I have the chance. No more talk, let’s fight.”
“You are right, let’s stop talking because we are wasting our time. The war that you are talking about has been here in the last 50 years, let’s renew it in another 50 years, let the Filipino sacrifice, the poor, the Lumad, let them die, let us fight in another 50 years.
“Let’s be ferocious against each other, no quarter given, no quarter asked.
“Let us stop talking. It’s a great expense to be sending people there [to Europe, for peace talks] for nothing, let’s start fighting.”
The president’s words today amplify what he said to soldiers in Marawi yesterday. “I don’t want to talk with them anymore,” he said. “They have killed so many of my soldiers. They have killed so many of my police.
“After this [the Marawi crisis], when the terrorists there are finished, let’s reorient. Let’s target the NPA because they owe us a lot.”
It is the second time the president has said he would no longer talk peace with the Left. In February a similar decision was prompted by the communists lifting a unilateral ceasefire. At that time he vowed there would be “no peace for a generation”.
Questioned shortly after the president’s speech of yesterday, Chief Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said: “What is clear now is that the scheduled backchannel meeting to work on possible resumption of the suspended fifth round is cancelled.
“If there will be a new officially-announced position, then let’s all wait for a categorical statement coming from the president no less.”
Today’s words have undoubtedly provided such a categorical statement.