MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement of PHP2-million reward to whoever can provide information that will lead to the neutralization of top communist terrorist leaders will mobilize more people against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), the country’s military chief said Tuesday.
“Good news for the AFP. That will be an additional reward for those informants aside on what is already on the AFP Reward system. This will bring in more informants. Thanks to PRRD for the additional incentive,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Gen. Filemon Santos, in a media interview.
Santos also pledged to ensure the safety of the informants.
Also, with the whole-nation-approach being utilized by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) and the AFP, he expressed confidence that the CPP-NPA threat will be finished before Duterte ends his term in 2022.
“Our kababayans who have been providing the AFP significant information leading to our recent decisive operations (against the CTG) will be twice benefited thereby,” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“They will not just be relieved from the lingering pestering presence of the NPA, our Kababayans can even cash in on the report that they will give to the AFP. And ultimately, they will get rid of the menace this terrorist NPA brings in their lives,” Santos said.
Meanwhile, AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said they will comply with the Chief Executive’s desire to let the military help in the distribution of cash aid to people severely affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
” We feel the express desire of the President to provide immediate intervention measures to address the need to bring amelioration assistance to the people forthwith. The AFP will comply,” Arevalo said in a statement to reporters.
He added that all field commanders will institute necessary adjustments in troop deployment in compliance with the President’s order.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will intensify its campaign to neutralize NPA rebels who are constantly attacking government personnel engaged in containing and alleviating the threats posed by Covid-19.
“The NPA members have been taking advantage of the health crisis by attacking many of the law enforcers assisting in the distribution of the aid to the communities. We have always been motivated to neutralize CPP-NPA personalities,” said PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, in a virtual press briefing.
He said the reward is a signal for the police to purge the personalities of the CPP-NPA.
Gamboa recognized that going after the NPA has always been reiterated by Duterte to the police and the military.
“Ito naman, this has always been reiterated by the President to the AFP and to the PNP the need for us na harapin squarely itong NPA [This has always been reiterated by the President to the AFP and to the PNP, for us to squarely face the NPA],” Gamboa said.
Gamboa assured an all-out war against the CPP-NPA as the government’s unilateral ceasefire ended earlier in April.
Duterte’s latest pronouncement came, as he once again expressed ire over the NPA’s series of attacks against the government forces who are assisting local governments in addressing the public health emergency.
Duterte assured informants that they would be treated as witnesses and would get protection from the government.
He said he would also relocate the recipients of the reward money for safety purposes.
He added that he would give them a “new identity” to protect them as well as land for their relocation.
Duterte said his administration is ready to fight the CPP-NPA and also willing to “die for the country.” (IA/with reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)