PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte expressed dismay on Thursday over reports that the New People's Army (NPA) rebels were behind the attack that killed four police officers in Bansalan, Davao del Sur.
During his visit to wounded and slain policemen in the province, Duterte apologized over the “gory” ambush but assured that he had already instructed the government forces to beef up its military offensive against the NPA.
“I am sad also for the NPA,” Duterte told reporters.
“I will just also ask the armed forces and the police, just go ahead and wage a war against them. And I will allow the police and military this time to use all available assets – airplanes, jets, rockets,” he added.
A team of policemen from Bansalan and the Scene of the Crime Operative in Digos City were reportedly responding to a report of murder when they were attacked by suspected members of the NPA.
Killed in action were Police Officer 1 (PO1) Rolly Belayo, PO1 Joe Narvaza, PO1 Saro Mangutara, all members of the Bansalan municipal Police Station, and PO3 Jayden May Rabor, a member of the Scene of the Crime Operatives–Digos City.
The President said he does not consider it as overkill but “a question of honor” because what had happened “is war among Filipinos, your countrymen.”
“It’s a question of honor. You know, we fight war and as the revolutionary ideology would put it, it’s a kind of ideological cannibalism because you devour your own kind. You kill your own brothers and sisters in thy name, in the altar of revolution,” he said.
The reported ambush came after Duterte announced that the back-channel talks with the communists are now ongoing, in a bid to resume the peace talks.
Duterte said he is ready to resume war against the NPA, while he expressed willingness to address the gap between the government and the communist party.
“Who wants to kill? You want to kill?... They choose. Me, I’m ready [for] all-out war, another 50 years… What you receive, you give also,” he said. “The Filipino would never want them in power. I will insist in that theory… We extend it (war) to another 50 years. Never would they have the chance to have power.” (SunStar Philippines)