Duterte: NPA is the no. 1 threat to Philippines not Abu Sayyaf

Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin and SCMP

President Rodrigo Duterte announced in his public address late Monday that terrorism is the worst problem for our officials in the government, and communist rebels are far worse than extremist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

Duterte had ordered the military to fight the rebels from the New People’s Army (NPA) instead of being killed, despite the ongoing crisis on COVID-19 pandemic.

“Terrorism is number one in our list. 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,” Duterte said.

“Kaya ang utos ko talaga sa Armed Forces, sa sundalo, upakan mo, upakan mo. Kasi ‘pag ikaw ang inabot… pati nga ‘yung pulis… na nagtutulong sa mga tao, pinatay pa ninyo lahat tapos using a Gillette blade,” he added.

The President also pointed out that these terrorist groups are taking advantage of the health crisis situation, as law enforcement agencies are more focused on helping fight the pandemic.

Currently, the Philippines has one of the highest COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, only behind Indonesia and Singapore.  

Health officials said that there are 30,682 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 1,117 deaths and 8,143 recoveries.

“Pero itong away ng COVID, ng terrorism, this has been taken advantage of by the itong mga forces arrayed against us — Abu Sayyaf, mga terorista with no ideology, the Communist Party with ideology but more pernicious ang effect which could undermine the peace and security of our country not only this administration, but it can transcend to the next generation, giving us no respite,” he also said.

There has been many discussions in the social media regarding the government’s alleged prioritization of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, which will amend the Human Security Act of 2007, instead of focusing on the problems caused by the pandemic.

Vice President Leni Robredo, as part of the opposition, has even questioned the timeliness of a bill considering that thousands were still sick with COVID-19.

President Duterte said that the bill, which Congress passed after the House of Representatives approved a Senate version, was still being reviewed by his legal team.

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