President Rodrigo Duterte is included in the “hit list” of the New People’s Army
, which was reportedly ready to launch attacks this Christmas season, his top security aide said Wednesday.
READ: Reds’ sincerity put in question
“Normally, during this period, they are expected to have accomplishments in terms of army development and in taking down their targets,” said Brig. Gen. Jose Eriel Niembra, chief of the Presidential Security Group. “We expect that the President is number one in their list.”
He assured the public, however, that the PSG would keep the President safe.
On Tuesday, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the NPA would assassinate people, including the President, and those who do not submit to their will as they mark their 51st year of existence on Dec. 26.
Esperon said security forces have been advised to take appropriate countermeasures against the “sinister threat” posed by the NPA and advised the public to remain vigilant.
He also asked the public to report to the authorities any suspicious individuals or activities.
The rebels, Esperon said, are growing “more desperate to stem the tide and cling to whatever dwindling influence they have left.”
On Dec. 5, Duterte hinted at a chance to resume peace talks with communist rebels.
Communist Party of the Philippines’ founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison on Wednesday condemned as “malicious psywar” Esperon’s statement that the rebels are planning to launch terror attacks during the holidays.
In an interview with GMA News, Sison said it was the communists that proposed goodwill measures
be undertaken during the holidays.
NTF-ELCAC vice chairman Hermogenes Esperon Jr. claimed that the communist rebels planned to conduct assassination missions during the holiday season.
“That is malicious psywar from Esperon,” Sison told GMA News Online.
But Esperon said security forces had been advised to take appropriate countermeasures against the “sinister threat”
posed by the NPA and asked the public to remain vigilant.
He also asked the Filipino people to report to the authorities any suspicious individuals or strange activities.
The rebels, Esperon said, were growing “more desperate to stem the tide and cling to whatever dwindling influence they have left.”
On Dec. 5, Duterte hinted at a chance to resume the peace talks with communist rebels.
Meanwhile, Duterte has organized the first Presidential Silent Drill Competition to be held at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Dec. 20.
Niembra said the President would attend the awarding rites on Friday afternoon.
Among the participants of the competition are cadets from the Philippine Military Academy, Philippine National Police Academy, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy, Philippine Army Officer Candidate School, Philippine Navy Officer Candidate School, Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School, and Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific.
Niembra expressed hope that the activity would awaken the interest of the youth in the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, underscoring the need for a reserve force.