Duterte won’t give in to NPA demands to free 400 prisoners

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines (February 3)–President Rodrigo Duterte is not ready to give in  to the demands of the New People’s Army (NPA) to immediately release about 400  political prisoners .

This, after the Central Committee on the Communist  Party Wednesday (February 1) announced their  withdrawal from the unilateral ceasefire agreement with the government.

Speaking before the 38th National Convention of the Philippine Association of Water Districts here Duterte said before he acts on the matter, he needs to consult other government agencies which is part of the government’s security group fearing that the military might not want to release all the detainees.

“Now they want 400 released. My God, that is already releasing all. Para na akong nag-amnesty, which is usually given after a successful negotiation,” Duterte said Thursday.

“Kaya ang sabi ko, huwag n’yo akong ipitin because the military might not like it,” he said.

“And then the military would oust me, would kill me, you [will] have nobody talking to you,” he added.

“Now, if you ask too much, this is a country that is not authoritarian. I head the Executive Department but I consult people and the military especially in the matters. Of course, nobody stood up right on my face to say it is not good. But during our talks, on our coffee time relaxed moments, they would make suggestions. And you can get vibration of what they want,” he said.

On Wednesday, the NPA announced the termination of their unilateral ceasefire with the government, accusing the Duterte administration of breaking its promise to release all political prisoners and violating its own truce.

Duterte earlier refused to free more detainees without a bilateral ceasefire deal, saying he has given “too much” to the communist rebels.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza on Wednesday said he would “leave the ultimate decision to the President” whether to withdraw the government’s ceasefire order.

Duterte said he will still take time to issue a statement on the conditions.

“So, nag-withdraw kayo sa ceasefire. So, am I supposed to do the same? Gaya-gaya, puto maya. Just go ahead. I will decide in the fullness of God’s time. Mahirap iyang akala ninyo ako lang kasi nanalo ako, tapos ako na. Hindi ako diktador ah,” Duterte said

On Wednesday, the central committee of the CPP through George Madlos aka Ka Oris  announced the termination of their unilateral ceasefire with the government as they accused government of breaking its promise to release all political prisoners and violating its own truce.

Hours, after the withdrawal a  junior army officer was  killed when suspected members of the New People’s Army attacked a joint military and police team in Davao Oriental.

Major Gen Rafael C Valencia, 10th Infantry Division (10ID) commander, expressed his condolences to the family of the officer.

Valencia emphasized that despite the incident, the 10ID will continue to abide by the suspension of offensive operations, but will not cease providing security to those being harassed or intimidated by the armed lawless group.

Duterte said he is not yet in a position to give in to the demands of the CPP.

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