MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte did not hide his anger at the Left when he delivered his second State of the Nation address Monday (July 24).
He said he had no plans to talk to them again, especially after communist rebels shot at the convoy of the Presidential Security Group in Arakan, North Cotabato last week.
In contrast, he gave assurances he will pursue the peace process with the Moro rebels under the blueprint of the Bangsamoro government before his term ends, as this is a key to peace in Mindanao.
The leaders of the Left the National Democratic Front have been in off again, on again peace talks with the administration, though both sides acknowledge this is the farthest that the peace process with the Left has gone since 1986, when dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ousted and the Cory Aquino government allowed Jose Maria Sison to come home.
Duterte said Prof. Sison, his good friend and former teacher, is an old man who apparently no longer controls the forces on the ground. He claimed Sison is sick. “May [He has] colon cancer,” a claim that the Communist Party of the Philippines founder denied in a chat with a TV network.
There was a time, Duterte recalled, when he was close to the communists, and could “cross the ideological border then,” referring to his days as Davao mayor when he could enter NPA strongholds or talk to them. But, he added, “times change” and he has since regretted giving the Left concessions.
He also lashed out at militant groups influenced by the Left, specifically the KADAMAY urban poor alliance which he did not name even as he mentioned their “occupy” campaign. He said while government builds houses for soldiers, the “occupy” group simply take them. He warned that further takeovers similar to what KADAMAY did to the soldiers’ housing in Pandi, Bulacan will be dealt with harshly.
“Gawa ka ng bahay, nakawin. I told soldiers [just let them be]. But if you create anarchy, I shoot you. We enforce laws against mining and the rich, but I will also enforce laws against anarchy.”
Finally, he told the SONA protesters on the streets – many of them from militant groups – to “go home.”
He said – apparently referring to calls among protesters to stop martial law in Mindanao – that terrorists will not give any of them a seat at the table if they win in their campaign to take over the government, and establish a province for the Islamic State, which has been driven out of its lairs in Iraq and Syria.
“Do you think that if the ISIS takes over, meron kayong makuha [you’ll get something]?” Duterte asked aloud in ad-libbed remarks addressing his erstwhile friends from the Left.
“You must be awfully stupid…Wala kayong makuha. Lahat kayo damay [You’ll get nothing. All of us will be punished].”