WATCH: Duterte tells communists 'you are terrorists because I declared you to be one'
Efigenio Toledo IV (Philstar.com) - July 8, 2020 - 7:38am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 9:17 a.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte, in a pre-recorded video aired early Wednesday, claimed he spent most of his days as president trying to connect to communists to arrive at a peaceful solution but to no avail.

The president added there is a time to be friendly and a time to be firm.

Duterte also said in a past public addresses that the New People's Army is the 'Number One' threat to the country. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque later clarified that the president meant the NPA is the top threat to the Philippine's national security but "COVID-19 is still number one."

Duterte designated the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines as terrorist groups in December 2017. A petition to proscribe — or to officially declare them as terrorist and outlawed organizations under the Human Security Act  — is still pending in court.

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