The Communist Party of the Philippines on Monday rejected the latest deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte for a New People’s Army ban on landmines, prompting the President to threaten to end peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Ignoring the threat, the communist group ordered their armed wing, the New People’s Army, to “expand use of command-detonated explosives (CDX) in launching tactical offensives against the reactionary armed forces,” including the police and the military.
“Setting such an ultimatum, after having yet to fulfill his own promise to release NDFP consultants and political prisoners, smacks of a poorly-crafted deflectionary tactic, with the aim of blaming the revolutionary forces for the repeated postponement of peace talks … apparently, Duterte’s mindset is becoming more and more militarized as he hops from one military camp to the next,” the CPP said in a statement Monday.
“[Duterte] is showing himself to be more and more cantankerous, inventing one reason after another to attack the CPP and NPA instead of finding ways to push forward peace negotiations,” the communist rebels said.
In his speech on Monday before troops at Camp Lucban in Catbalogan, Samar, Duterte slammed the communist rebels for apparently twisting the Geneva Convention as he reiterated his “threat” to call off the peace talks should another land mine kill another soldier.
“If I hear of another landmine, another shot, I’ll ask the peace panel to come home. Don’t waste your money there, they talk nonsense,” he added.
Duterte stressed that he wants peace in the land, and to end the longest communist insurgency in the region.
“You have been at war with the government for 45 years. Do you want to fight with my government,” Duterte asked.
The CPP, however, claimed landmines were legitimate weapons of war and are allowed under the Geneva Conventions and the Ottawa Treaty on Landmines.
“Contrary to Duterte’s demand for the NPA to stop using its CDX landmines, the NPA and the people’s militias must further expand the use of such weapons,” said the CPP.
“Perhaps, he has not been closely listening to explanations about landmine conventions and distinctions made about different types of landmines,” the group said.
“Every unit of the NPA, including all units of the people’s militias, must have their own supply of CDX landmines, and must have the skill and plan to employ these as defensive and offensive weapons against the enemy,” the CPP adds.
Despite orders to use landmines against the military, the CPP said they support the peace negotiation and urged Duterte “to fullfill his promise to release all NDFP consultants so they can lend their expertise in scheduled negotiations and discussions on socio-economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms.”
“If he does so, the GRP president will succeed in convincing the revolutionary forces that he is indeed a man of honor. He will also succeed in proving that his government is indeed different from the past regime which only used peace negotiations in a vain attempt to cause the surrender of the NPA,” the statement concluded.