While President Duterte is talking peace with communist militants, his daughter Sara — the mayor of Davao — has denounced them as terrorists after a string of attacks last night.
In the small hours of this morning (Saturday, April 29) fighters of the New People’s Army targeted four businesses belonging to a prominent local family.
Mayor Sara Duterte condemned the attacks as acts of terrorism and said: “I take what happened today as a personal insult especially because the local government of Davao City has been supportive of the peace negotiations between the national government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the political umbrella that covers the armed guerrilla movement.”
She added that she had repeatedly offered to talk peace with NPA in the city.
“We condemn these acts committed by a group that pretends to champion social justice and equality.
“With its history of carrying out atrocities and its continued penchant for lawlessness and bloodbath, the NPA is an organisation that is not worthy of our trust and respect,” she said.
NPA spokesman Rigoberto Sanchez said guerrillas “victoriously launched three simultaneous tactical offensives in Davao City against the Lorenzo-owned companies and ranch” at 2am.
“The coordinated offensives served as punitive action against the Lorenzos for their numerous crimes against agricultural workers, peasants, and Lumad [local ethnic groups],” he added.
At least two security guards were injured in the attacks, one seriously.
Mayor Duterte said the city government “commiserates” with the victims, as well as the local people who were caught up in the violence.
She also called on the public to support the police and the military by “openly condemning the NPA as a terrorist organisation”.
“I would like to assure the people of Davao that our policemen and soldiers are on top of the situation, with the order that the safety of civilians should be ensured and protected at all times. We shall pour all the available resources to achieve this end,” she added.
A joint statement from the military and police said: “The attack was also meant to embarrass government as it was staged at a time when the City is scheduled to host important events.”
However, they stressed the attack was an “an isolated incident in a remote area” and that additional measures had been put in place to improve security.