PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, September 10, further raised the reward money to P7 million for anyone who can capture or kill those behind the execution of four police officers in Negros Oriental.
Duterte also said he has directed the state forces to go on a full-scale attack against the communist insurgents.
"Walang hintuan. Magpalit-palit 'yung isang battalion diyan na walang gamit na wala masyadong kalaban ‘yang ano.... Pagka-bone-weary na ang mga sundalo, palit na naman. Tuloy-tuloy," the President said in a press conference after the oath-taking of officers of Malacañang Press Corps at the Palace.
(It will not stop. Each battalion will take turns fighting the enemies. If soldiers are already bone-weary, another battalion should replace them. The battle will be relentless.)
"At kung maaari, lumaban sila nang husto kasi hindi ako magtanggap ng surrender (And if possible, they should continue fighting because I will not accept surrender)," the President added.
Suspected members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) allegedly tortured and executed four junior police officers in front of the residents of Ayungon, Negros Oriental on July 18, 2019.
The slain police officers were Police Corporal Relebert Beronio and Patrolmen Raffy Callao, Roel Cabellon, and Marquino de Leon.
The bounty on the killers of the four policemen was initially set at P1 million, but Duterte raised the reward money several times to ensure the arrest of the suspects.
"May promise ako, ‘di ba? P6 million na. Oh, P7 million na ngayon (I made a promise, didn't I? It's P6 million but I raise it to P7 million now)," the President said.
"Hanapin talaga ninyo ang totoo. Ang gawain lang ninyo, putulin ninyo ‘yung ulo, ilagay ninyo sa box, ‘yang styrofoam, lagyan ninyo ng ice, at dalhin mo dito kay magtawag tayo ng press con," he added.
(Look for the killers. Decapitate the head and put in a styrofoam boax. Put some ice and bring it here. I will hold a press conference after that.)
The execution of the four policemen was followed by a series of shooting incidents in the next 10 days that killed 15 more people, including a one-year-old child.
Duterte formally terminated in November 2017 the peace talks between the government peace panel and the communists' political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), following the NPA's series of attacks against government forces. (SunStar Philippines)