THE New People's Army (NPA) is on a rampage, claiming it's just getting back at the Armed Forces of the Philippines that it accuses of being on a rampage. But then, it seems that they burned equipment first, so there is a reason for soldiers to sweep the land, after all, the ceasefire has been lifted, right?

Major Ezra Balagtey, spokesman of the military's Joint Task Force Haribon, said pursuit operations are underway against the remnants of the NPA band that figured in the clash last Thursday afternoon that killed two soldiers and two suspected communist rebels and wounded 15 other soldiers at the boundary of villages Lacson and Lamanan.

Balagtey said the Army's 3rd Infantry Battalion were on a convoy to go after a group of rebels who burned a pineapple harvester owned by Del Monte Corporation in the village of Tawantawan, Calinan District, Davao City, when the rebels detonated a roadside bomb around 4 p.m. leading to the firefight.

At around 5 a.m. of the same day, communist rebels attacked an army detachment at sitio Binaton in Malabog village, Paquibato District, where one rebel was killed.

There's an offensive going on, a propaganda ploy, most likely. To prove strength, to prove firepower, to prove that they can do it on the home turf of the President, maybe banking on the fact that very few Filipinos know and even care where Malabog and Tawantawan and Lacson and Lamanan are, for as long as these villages are within the 2,445 square kilometers area of Davao City, then yes, they can make many believe that they indeed have the fire power and the strength and that they are doing it in the turf of the President.

For what? While indeed, there may be issues that still need to be clarified and things that still need to be done, it is clear that President Rodrigo Duterte is still the crowd's favorite, the masses' savior, the beacon that makes millions willing to be called tards.

Have they even checked where their combatants' hearts are? Dabawenyos know too well how far-reaching the former mayor's assistance and support for the poor and the downtrodden of the city, most likely, many of the strength that the rebels are brandishing have been touched by this generosity in the past 28 years.

The masses know that finally they have a government that works for them, albeit there are still those in government who cannot let go of the corrupt ways government has been steeped in for generations on end. But people are more forgiving now, because they see in their leader the sincerity to serve them and to crack the whip, even if the whip has not cracked the butts of a number of the persistently corrupt. Forgiving is the word, because for generations now, the masses have received nothing.

A few more of the attacks, burning of equipment, and collection of revolutionary taxes, and the propaganda about their firepower and ability to strike at the bailiwick of the President can backfire, and what will the rebels be left with? Nothing but firepower, the guts to attack at will, and the tenacity to extract revolutionary taxes. This does not differentiate them from terrorists, though. How will they explain that to the masses?

As the peace talks have hit a major bump, the left has a lot of re-assessing to do.