MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana slammed Maoist rebels on Wednesday following their call for an “unholy alliance” with critics of President Rodrigo Duterte to bring down the government, saying this demonstrates their “bankrupt ideology.”
In a statement, Lorenzana said the invitation of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, both of which are considered terrorists by the government, to work with and build an alliance with anti-Duterte groups showed how far the rebels were from the truth and how years of “propagating lies” had deluded their sense of reality.
“President Duterte is far from being “increasingly isolated” from the Filipino people since according to the latest survey, he has a very high 82 percent approval and trust rating,” the defense chief said.
According to Lorenzana, the rebels, through their official publication, called on their comrades to build an alliance with anti-government personalities and groups, even those with “the biggest contradiction with revolutionary forces,” to remove the president from office.
They encouraged their forces to launch both armed and unarmed campaigns to “deal serious blows to the regime and weaken it until it falls.”
He said that this invitation was also a sign that the communist movement was “crumbling from within” and had already lost their mass-based support and some members who had laid down their arms.
The defense chief reassured the public that the military would do its utmost to defend it from attacks by communist militants.
“We will guard the institutions which are sacred to our democratic way of life and not let any group destroy the ideals which our nation’s forefathers fought and died for,” he said.
Local Maoist rebels are waging one of the longest rebellions in the world, and hopes for a peace deal between them and the government were high when Duterte assumed the presidency.
There was some progress, and the president appointed some left-leaning personalities in his Cabinet. However, peace negotiations have been stalled following accusations by both sides of violations and continuous armed operations against each other.
The military is accusing rebels of continuous attacks despite peace negotiations while the militants are complaining about operations against indigenous people and incursions into their so-called territories.
Last December, both sides have declared a cessation of hostilities to allow soldiers and rebels to spend some time with their families during the holidays.
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