MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he would form his own hit squad to target members of a liquidation team commanded by the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the communist movement.
“One of these days, I will be forced to create my own ‘sparrow.' Walang hanapin kung ‘di iyung mga istambay na mga tao d'yan, suspected NPAs, at bibiharin din sila,” Duterte said in a speech during the turnover of military housing units in Camp Rajah, Sikatuna, Carmen, Bohol.
(They will do nothing else but hunt down suspected NPAs and hit them too.)
“I will match their talent of assassinating people.”
The President's statement came as yet another sign of the continuing friction between government and communist rebels, whose peace negotiations fell through a year ago over continued rebel attacks on state troops.
He lamented that government troops remained vulnerable to attacks from NPA’s liquidation unit called the Special Partisan Unit, oft referred to as “sparrows.”
Peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines broke down last year due to alleged continuing rebel attacks on state troops.
Duterte’s latest statement against communist rebels came in the wake of his assurance to exiled communist rebels that they would not be arrested if they go to the Philippines to revive the peace talks.
Earlier Tuesday, his peace adviser Jesus Dureza said the President was still open to reviving talks despite his continuing verbal spat with exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison.