President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited on 5 February 2017 at St. Ignatius of Loyola Chapel at 4th Infantry Division, Camp Evangelista Cagayan de Oro City, the wake of three soldiers who were killed by New People’s Army (NPA) on 1 February in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
In his visit, he awarded Medal of Valor to the three fallen soldiers namely Sgt Owen B. Yee, Cpl Pat O. Non and Cpl Niño Christopher L. Talabor who sustained a minimum of 24 gunshots each while on civilian clothes on the day they were killed.
The President also gave cash and educational assistance to the family they have left behind. According to the family, the President promised them justice.
In his talk with the family members of the fallen soldiers, President Duterte called the NPA “terrorist.” He ordered the law enforcers to arrest the NPA. “From now on I consider the NPA as terrorist,” he stressed.
President Duterte said he no longer considers the NPA a rebel group but a terror group.
In a media interview, President Duterte condemned the brutal killing saying that the NPA announced publicly that they will lift their ceasefire agreement on 10 February 2017 but they are already killing government police and soldiers meantime.
However, the President said that he will not declare all-out war but law enforcement against terrorists through the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
President told the media that he wanted to end the 50-year war with the NPA but it seemed it wanted another 50 years of war.
The president explained that Filipinos may choose who to believe. The communists (NPA) have been fighting government for 50 years. He said he has gone out of his way to end this 50 year old war. But apparently it appears they (NPAs) want another 50 years of fight against the government.
Meanwhile, President Duterte says he issued an alert in the immigration that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) members coming to the country will be arrested.
He is offering peace to the NPA combatants in the field, a settlement once they decide to come down and he will proceed with Land Reform.
However, if they will insist on fighting against government, the President says the government is ready. “I have lifted the ceasefire, they can start and we are ready,” the President declared. (JMOR/PIA10)
***photos in the chapel from Presidential Photographers Division Archives***