FORMER rebels who split from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) had their firearms destroyed, but President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he will rearm them should communist rebels attack them.
“You are part of government. Magkasama na tayo ngayon. Kung ipitin kayo ng mga komunista, at if they really want trouble, I will give you a new firearm. Mas maganda pa dito,” Duterte told 737 members of a coalition of groups that split from the CPP in the 1990s.
He added, “If you think you are in danger ... at kayo ang mamatay, bigyan ko kayo ng bagong armas. Kung gusto ninyo tanke de giyera.”
He said that since the government now has the duty to protect members of the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletariat Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara Paduano-Group (RPM-P/RPA/ABB-TPG) as they have returned to society.
He added he will honor this “with his life,” just like his other public pronouncements.
Duterte had previously committed to arm members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front when they also laid down their arms.
The decommissioning of the firearms of the Kapatiran is part of a peace deal it struck with the Philippine government in 2000.
The RPM-P/RPA/ABB-TPG, now known as Kapatiran, all split from the CPP in the 1990s as they rejected the communist ideology.
This was part of what the CPP called the “second great rectification movement,” which key communist leader Luis Jalandoni described as “an educational movement to identify, repudiate and rectify the errors of urban insurrectionism, premature big formations of the NPA (New People’s Army) and anti-infiltration hysteria.”
This resulted in significant losses in the mass base of the CPP and also led to the assassination of several leftist leaders. The CPP has denied any role in the deaths of these individuals.