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Lorenzana urges Reds to abandon armed struggle

A day before the 52nd anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana urged communist rebels to abandon the armed struggle and instead work with the national government if they are really after the welfare of fellow Filipinos.

"To this day, the CPP/NPA continues to champion a discredited and bankrupt ideology that has long been eschewed by former communist countries. If you, the CPP/NPA, are truly fighting for and are with the Filipino people, I urge you to abandon your destructive ideologies and peacefully work with the government," Lorenzana said in a press statement Friday.

Lorenzana claimed that in the more than 50 years of the CPP's existence, it had not come close to achieving its aim of supplanting a democratic government with a communist one.

He said that the CPP's armed wing, which founder Jose Maria Sison established to wage an armed struggle to overthrow the government, was a total failure.

"In those five decades, the CPP/NPA never came close to achieving its goal and has instead left a trail of death and destruction all over the country that continues to this day — killings of civilians and government troops, recruitment of young kids to their ranks, destruction of properties, and massive extortion of businesses," Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana also encouraged Filipinos to continue denouncing the communist group and its activities.

"I also call on all Filipinos to continue to denounce the propaganda and rhetoric of this terrorist group. It is time for this long-running insurgency to end and for the nation to unite to move forward as one.," Lorenzana said.

The CPP was set to hold activities to mark its 52nd anniversary despite attacks coming from security forces.

The Philippine government and the communist group decided not to declare a holiday ceasefire this year.

According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, rebels had been insincere when it came to truces because they continued to attack soldiers and commit atrocities on civilians despite ceasefires.

For its part, the CPP said it was the military that did not honor truces in the past.

President Rodrigo Duterte said there would be no further ceasefires with the communists for the rest of his term. Neither would his administration return to the peace negotiations with the rebels.  — DVM/KG, GMA News