MANILA -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the New People's Army (NPA) is a "bane" to the country's peace, security and national development as the rebel group celebrates its 49th founding anniversary Thursday.
"On 29 March, the communist terrorists NPA will be marking their 49th year of futile, delusional and vicious existence that is a bane to our country's peace, security and national development," the DND chief said in a statement released Thursday.
Lorenzana also scored the NPA for its penchant of carrying out a string of celebratory attacks, atrocities and criminal acts to hide their dwindling number and degraded strength during their foundation day.
While the military is on alert for such attacks, the DND chief urged the public to be more vigilant against atrocities that might be committed by the NPAs.
"While the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is on heightened alert to fully protect our people and thwart possible hostilities by the NPA, we enjoin the public to be more vigilant and proactive in securing our communities against treacherous activities such as intimidation, extortion and murder of innocent civilians, burning of private properties and vital installations and conduct of ambuscades against government security forces," the DND chief said.
In urban areas, NPA members commonly intersperse with leftist groups and legal front organizations to conduct lightning rallies, vandalism and disruption of regular activities in schools and workplace, to cause severe traffic congestion and massive disturbance of peace and order, he added.
"Ang dapat nating itanong sa mga NPA ay ano nga ba ang ipinagdiriwang ninyo tuwing anibersaryo nyo? Wala naman kayong maipakitang magandang nagawa, bagkus wala kayong ginawa kundi pumatay, mangotong sa mga negosyante, at manunog ng mga ari-arian ng mga ayaw magbayad sa inyo. Kayo ang dahilan kung bakit hindi tayo umuunlad. Kayo ang tinutukoy ni President Duterte na pabigat kung kaya di tayo makaangat (What we must ask the NPA is what they are really celebrating in their anniversary? You haven't showed anything good that you have done. Instead, you do nothing but kill, extort money from businessmen and burn properties of those who don't want to pay you. You are the reason why the country is far from progress. You are the one whom President Duterte referred to as a burden which hinders us from achieving development)," he said.
Instead of being one of the road blocks to the country's development, Lorenzana urged remaining NPA members and supporters to lay down your arms and re-join society.
"Do not continue to be blinded by the propaganda of your selfish leaders who live in luxury, away in a foreign land, with their families and loved ones by their side, at your expense and at our people's expense, especially those from vulnerable communities. Your cause has become irrelevant and your ideology, bankrupt," Lorenzana said.
"For the past 49 years, you have failed to overthrow the duly-constituted government and replace the ideals of democracy with your brand of communism, despite your relatively stronger force and mass base support. What makes you now think that you can succeed even in the next 50 years given your dwindling number, degraded capability and lack of people's support?" he added.
Rebels willing to surrender will be aided by the government through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) set-up by President Rodrigo Duterte.
"For the remaining members of the NPA, it is time for you to return to society. Give up violence and the deceitful ideology you are fighting for. Think about the welfare of your families and of the nation," he said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency