MANILA—Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has urged businesses not to give in to the extortion rackets of the New People’s Army (NPA), following a series of NPA attacks against companies that refuse to give in to their demands.
“I, therefore, call upon all peace-loving Filipinos to resist these thugs, these terrorists who have brought nothing but misery to the Filipino people in the past 48 years. Let us resist their extortions because giving in will make them strong and perpetuate their criminal acts,” he said in a statement Saturday.
The NPA extortion rackets and attacks against police and military units, going about their lawful business, came in wake of the announcement of the rebels’ political leadership that they are resuming peace talks and a unilateral ceasefire with the government this April.
“Fellow Filipinos, in the past weeks, the Communist Terrorists who call themselves the New People’s Army went on a rampage, burning equipment and properties of companies that refuse to succumb to their extortions. They do these to companies that build roads, export produce, transport people — activities that help generate employment and wealth for Filipinos,” Lorenzana stressed.
By committing these atrocities, the NPAs have shown themselves to be anti-progress and anti-poor, the defense chief added.
“We at the Department of National Defense share in the vision of President Rodrigo Duterte of building a nation worthy of Filipinos and Filipinos worthy of a nation. The path to real, lasting peace is indeed not without its struggles, thus it is important that we stay committed to this goal, and to let our actions reflect our intentions,” he said.
The series of unprovoked attacks against military and civilian targets last February prompted the government to suspend its peace talks and ceasefire with the rebels.
“We stand by the President’s decision to resume the peace process but we likewise should call on the Communists to show their commitment both in words and in deeds,” he added.