MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte continued assailing his former teacher and supposed good friend Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, urging the Communist Party of the Philippines founder to go back home as Norway, the country hosting the peace talks between the government and the CPP, had already spent a lot of money for the “aging” and “penniless” leftist leader.
“Umuwi ka na. Marami nang gastos sa iyo ang Norway [Go home. Norway has spent a lot for you] … Do not abuse their charity,” Duterte said Monday during a press conference after his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
Duterte, who over a year ago was described by Sison as “the best President the Philippines can have since Marcos,” added that while it was the Utrecht-based 78-year-old CPP leader who was spearheading a revolution, it wasn’t him with but the indigenous peoples of Mindanao who had risked their lives because of the communist struggle.
“Wala ka namang pera tapos tumanda ka sa labas [You do not have money and you grew old outside.] You’re leading a revolution, ang namamatay ‘yong [those who are killed are the] Lumad dito [here],” the President said.
During his SONA, Duterte alleged that Sison had colon cancer but the communist leader dismissed the chief executive’s claim as “imaginary.”
In a statement issued Monday, Sison said that he was hospitalized for a month but this wasn’t due to a life-threatening illness.
“I was treated in connection with rheumatoid arthritis and skin allergy for the following symptoms: low auto-immunity level during the cold months of autumn and winter, lack of appetite, loss of weight, skin allergy, pains on the joints, etc. No findings of cancer of any kind, cardiac problem or any other malignancy which is life threatening,” Sison said.
According to the communist leader, Duterte should be the one explaining “his disappearances for medical reasons because the public is entitled to know everything that pertains to his suitability for public office.”
Last July 21, During the Davao Investment Forum in Davao City, Duterte also lashed out at Sison following a series of offensives carried our by the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed wing.
“This war that you are fighting, I was listening to you when I was a student. That was 50 years ago. Let us renew the fighting for another 50 years. If it’s what you want,” Duterte told Sison.
“Let the Filipinos sacrifice. Karamihan naman ng mga sundalo mo mahirap, taga-bukid [Most of your soldiers are poor, those from the fields] and the Lumads, and the indigenous people. Let them die,” he added.
On Monday, the President told media that he would welcome it if the communist rebels would also move for the cancellation of the peace talks.
“If you want to call off the talks, it will be welcomed. Let the war which you started 50 years ago continue for another 50 years. That is my suggestion,” he said.
Duterte said he would ask Congress to transfer to the military what was left on the budget for the peace negotiations with communists. “‘Yong pera para sa Left or whatever’s left to it, sasabihin ko sa Congress na ililipat dito sa military.”
He said the government would use the money to fight the ISIS and the NPA.
“Ang gawin ko sa pera muna (What I will with the money for the meantime] is I will build a credible armed forces that can fight at all fronts everywhere. I really do not know how many will sprout up, but we have the ISIS and the NPA.
He said he would also accept the two high-altitude planes that was offered to him by a country and would also buy drones to aid the military in their operations.
Duterte promised strong military and police forces in two years to fight rebels and terrorists.
He said he had ordered for an additional recruitment of about 25,000 soldiers and 10 to 15,000 members of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF).
“Government as a countermeasure will start to call for a mobilization. I want the Army added by about 20,000 fighting men. I have lost a considerable number of my soldiers in Marawi,” he said.
“Then I will add about another 10 to 15 thousand soldiers. But I want them SAF,” he added.