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Joma says Duterte 'must be crazy' for asking NPA to drop their guns

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria "Joma" Sison on Thursday lambasted President Rodrigo Duterte for calling on New People’s Army (NPA) rebels to drop their guns.

“Duterte must be crazy or clowning in reiterating the preconditions he made so many times before,” Sison said in a statement.

Duterte has urged the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, to drop their arms and cooperate with the government's land reform program, as he acknowledged that decades of war with the communists will never end if they are not given land.

According to Sison, Duterte's "preconditions amount to having the armed revolutionary movement commit political suicide before even going to the negotiating table and submit itself to surrender talks and possible slaughter in the venue offered by Duterte."

Sison reiterated that Duterte is not willing to participate in a serious peace negotiation, noting the escalation of attacks against suspected revolutionaries and government critics.

The self-exiled communist leader also accused the Duterte administration of spending billions of pesos for its propaganda.

He said the administration is paying for “unbelievable poll surveys, fake news by official agencies and troll armies, TV-radio ads, ubiquitous tarpaulins and paid crowds” to give his candidates a winning chance in the May 13 midterm elections.

Sison advised the public to expose the alleged evil character of Duterte’s administration to defeat its candidates in the coming may polls.

'Forced to bow to the military'

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año recently urged the local government officials to create their respective task forces, in line with the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

"With no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself taking the role as National Task Force Chairperson, provincial governments should follow his lead by taking more active and decisive actions to counter communist terrorist groups through the creation of a provincial task force," he said.

In response, the CPP said the Duterte administration uses counter-insurgency as a "pretext to exercise de-facto martial law powers nationwide" and forces local government officials to bow before his terms.

"Civilian officials are under pressure to 'operate' by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) under pain of being red-tagged, as well as by threats of being included in Duterte's made-up narcolist," it said in a separate statement.

"Local government officials and the entire bureaucracy are being made to bow to the military... The aim is to silence all legit opposition to Duterte's corruption and power abuse," it added.

Further, the CPP called the anti-communist task force "a cesspool of corruption" with top military officials supposedly sharing with Duterte's "bureaucrat capitalist rule."

The communist movement assured that its armed struggle will prevail. —Joviland Rita and Dona Magsino/KBK/RSJ, GMA News