Islamist militants in Mindanao and communist insurgents have been complicating the government’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Monday.
In a public address, President Duterte said “forces arrayed against us”, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), are taking advantage of the present situation.
But the President told the public that the communist rebels remain the major threat to the country’s security, which he said could undermine peace and security not only during the current administration, but also the next generation.
“Actually the number one threat to the country hindi Abu Sayyaf, hindi ‘yung mga terorista of no value. Itong high value targets ito ‘yung mga komunista,” he said. “Kaya ang utos ko talaga sa Armed Forces, sa sundalo, upakan mo.”
He also decried the rebels’ double standard by invoking human rights when it is in their favor.
“When it is in your favor, you talk so much about Geneva Convention right? When you are at the losing end, you talk of so many things invoking Geneva Convention right and left asking for the protection that the law gives upon everybody,” he said.
“That’s the riddle that I cannot understand sa iyo. Tutal if you fight for as a matter of principle, panindigan mo.”
The President also mentioned the collection of revolutionary tax by the insurgents, alledging the money ends up in the bank account of their legal front using fictitious name.
“I hope that I will not have to do something — to do more drastic. Like just really looking at your bank accounts. Marami-rami niyong movements ng pera eh,” he warned.
In his previous addresses, the President condemned the rebels for attacking soldiers escorting social workers handing over cash aid and food packs to poor households in remote areas of the country. PND