Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental
March 5, 2021

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte lambasted the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for its insurgency and criminal acts, such as extortion and arson, that have consistently disrupted peace and public order in the country.

“All these fifty-three (53) years, in the span of 53 years, all you ever did was destroy families, destroy properties of government, those investors who ventured into business in far-flung areas, you burn their equipment if they don’t pay taxes. You even kill the people,” President Duterte remarked in the local dialect during his attendance to the Joint National Task Force – Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Northern Mindanao (NTF-RTF-ELCAC X) Meeting in Cagayan de Oro City.

He said the rebels were able to make their way around many communities and barangays in the provinces by manipulating the marginalized sector and using them to carry out their propaganda against the government.

“I just don’t understand why all those communist leaders, including Sison, that he could not comprehend that the most oppressed in the insurgency problem and they thrive on the gullible and the poor who don’t have the education,” stated President Duterte where he stressed that the communists recruit “them to become soldiers only to die.”

The Chief Executive remained firm that he will not let the group topple his administration.

“Is that really the life you want? Now, for those of you who were able to fully comprehend what I said, you should understand that I won’t be defeated,” he warned the rebel group.

Since the start of his administration, President Duterte has continuously denounced insurgency and armed conflict as major impediments to lasting harmony in the land. On 4 December 2018, he issued Executive Order (EO) No. 70 that created the NTF-ELCAC and institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach towards obtaining sustainable peace in the hopes of putting an end to more than five (5) decades of local communist insurgency.

In order to reduce the influence of communist rebels in barangays, which the President considers a ‘hotbed’ for recruitments, he ordered different agencies to fast-track government services in low-lying communities.

He tasked the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to accelerate the distribution of 450,000 hectares of land to the beneficiaries, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to aid in livelihood and skills training, among others.

The Chief Executive assured the rebels who want to surrender and reintegrate back to society that the government will give any form of assistance to rebuild their lives.

“So that’s why I’m spending money on those who understand what I’m saying. You don’t need to be taught to understand because you yourselves are capable of understanding. You know that what you’ve been doing, extorting from the poor and killing those who favor the government, is wrong,” he said.

“For those who do not want war, those who understand what’s wrong and right, you know that we will know if what you did was right or wrong, we will still welcome you,” President Duterte added.

The joint meeting of several officials from the NTF-RTF-ELCAC X served as a venue to discuss the most recent accomplishments of the Task Force among the local communities in the regional and national levels anchored on sustaining peace and order, as well as providing basic services in conflict-affected areas. It also tackled updates on the mitigating measures, policies and programs under the National Peace Framework that aims to address conflicts across the country.