Duterte says communists' style similar to bandits


MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte mocked the communist rebels for supposedly acting like bandits and for pretending to have a clout weeks before the resumption of the peace talks.

Duterte, in particular, took a potshot at his former college professor, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison, who has criticized him for lifting the ceasefire.

“His (Sison) saliva goes out of the screen. Your face will end up being wet,” the president told soldiers on Friday at Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz.

“You would think they are somebody yet they cannot even control a single barangay. I don’t know. That’s the style of bandits,” he added.  

Duterte claimed that communist allies in Davao managed to win elections because they joined his party.

“You would think they are a force to reckon with,” the chief executive said. “I find them arrogant. They are acting as if they are the one in power.”

According to Duterte, government forces will not be defeated despite the rebels’ advantage in some areas.

“They can stage ambuscades but we won’t run out of men,” he said.

“One day, once we acquire the equipment, even if you just bring slingshots, you will be able to kill them. You can just use stones against these braggarts.”

The government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the communist rebels, are set to hold formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway from August 20 to 27.

To support the resumption of the negotiations, Duterte declared a ceasefire with the rebels during his first state of the nation address.

The president, however, called off the truce five days later due to the failure of the communists to declare their own ceasefire.

Duterte asked the CPP to declare its own truce after rebels staged an ambush in Davao del Norte last July 27, leaving one militiaman dead and four others injured.

Despite the lifting of the truce, Duterte said he remains keen to talking peace with the communist rebels.

“I dare them. This is my challenge to them – Let us not only talk, let’s have a marathon,” the president said. 

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