MANILA, Philippine - Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, told leftist rebel leaders, who were freed from detention, to participate in the peace negotiations, to surrender or face punitive actions.

In a speech, before scout rangers in San Miguel, a town north of Manila, Duterte said, he had freed up to 40 detained communist leaders, to show that his administration was sincere in talking peace with the insurgents.

"I am ordering those I have released temporarily, to surrender or face again punitive actions. You have to go back where you belong. I released you because I thought it might help you," Duterte said.

Duterte issued the fresh warning, a day after he decided to terminate peace negotiations with the rebel group.

Duterte accused the rebel group of being unable to control its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) rebels, in attacking the troops and civilians, who refused to give them money.

Duterte also threatened to arrest armed communist rebels, and all the "legal fronts" helping the leftist rebels.

Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, the Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman, told reporters that, the military was bracing for more attacks from the rebels.

"We have already provided guidance to our units to be vigilant, to stay alert," Padilla said.

Since 1986, the government has been trying to reach a peace deal with the communist rebels but failed to make any headway.

The rebellion began in 1969 and reached its peak in 1987, when it boasted 26,000 armed guerrillas.

However, the movement has since dwindled, due to differences in strategy and tactics, and the arrests of many of its top leaders in the late 1980's.

The military estimated the communist rebels at around 3,800 armed members.


Related posts