In response to Joma Sison’s threat that NPA can kill 1 soldier a day, President Rodrigo Duterte said, on February 7, government forces may kill five NPA terrorists for every soldier killed.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque during the February 8 press conference said “I think the message is: you don’t threaten us, Joma Sison. We are the state, if we haven’t eradicated you, it’s because we opted not to eradicate you as Filipinos. But if you want war, we are ready to go to war.”
Roque added that the government has resources.
“Hindi dapat tinatakot ang gobyerno na parang mas malaki pa ang kakayahan nila na manaig sa isang digmaan. Hindi po totoo iyon. Handa po ang Hukbong Sandatahan kung gusto nila ng digmaan,” he said.
On February 7, President Duterte hosted a dinner for former NPA members in Malacañang.
President Duterte told the former NPAs that their decision was good. He said communism is no longer relevant as major former communist powers like the Soviet Union and China embraced capitalism and became successful.
In terms of free education for the children of rebel returnees, the President said the bright ones may opt to apply for government scholarship, noting that he is willing to send them to the country’s top universities. He also said it is not too late for the former rebels to improve their lives.
The President advised them to acquire skills from TESDA such as dressmaking for women and carpentry, plumbing and electrical skills for men.
Source: https://pcoo.gov.ph/press_briefing/press-briefing-presidential-spokesperson-secretary-harry-roque-8/; https://pcoo.gov.ph/news_releases/president-duterte-welcomes-former-npa-rebels-malacanan/