President Rodrigo Duterte today called on the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic while emphasizing the promise they will not be arrested if they go down from the mountains.
This was Duterte’s statement in a speech Thursday to the communist rebels and their healthcare workers as the COVID-19 case suddenly kicked off amid the more contagious Omicron variant.
“Kayong mga nurses nasa NPA… magbaba kayo, I assure you if you give us in advance a notice that you are going down to participate in… offering their services, tutal magbayad man ako, magtulong kayo,” Duterte said in a televised address.
It will be recalled that in September 2016, Duterte invited then CPP chair and secretary-general Benito and Wilma Tiamzon to Malacañang, at a time when the administration’s peace process with the rebels was still rolling.
Despite this, in 2019, Duterte finally closed the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Duterte asks NPA to help during COVID-19 pandemic
“[B]umaba kayo at… I will be gracious to… as long as you do it for your fellowmen, I will be very happy. I will be gracious at magkain pa tayo dito [sa Palasyo,” Duterte said.
“Pero pagbalik ninyo sa bukid, ang order ko talaga is kung may encounter, patayin na lang [kayo]. Eh away ‘to eh,” he added.
Recently, the CPP leadership said that their armed NPA army has been assisting in health work for a long time.
“In rural villages, NPA beats Duterte/AFP in assisting people since pandemic: building village health committees, conducting info campaigns, as well as classes and tutorials for kids, helping in planting and harvesting crops, and rebuilding homes and farms in disaster areas,” said Marco Valbuena, chief information officer of the party.
“In contrast, the masses know the fascist AFP/PNP only as thugs who turn the barangay center, health clinics and daycare centers, schools and gyms into military barracks, who go on drinking sprees and cockfighting, and promote drugs and pornography to poison the youth.”