The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte to incoming DILG chief: Deny rebels with weapons

May 21, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would order incoming Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano to make sure that no firearms and ammunition would land into the hands of the enemies of the state, particularly the communist New People's Army.
In a speech last Friday in Davao City during the 25th Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines Defense and Sporting Arms Show, the Chief Executive said there would be stricter guidelines that the government would implement to make sure that buyers of weapons and ammunition would not use these against the government security forces.
"The DILG secretary by June will be Ano. I will give the guidance to him on how to check it out that no firearms would ever, ever land in the hands of an enemy of the state," he said.
He said even the sellers of the ammunition should advise their clients to work on the papers.
"Because we know very well that some of those (pieces) of ammunition that are purchased are on the hands of the NPAs. As one way of controlling and even the high-powered, the high-powered (firearms) should not be sold. No more," he said.
Duterte admitted that the rebellion problem being faced by the government is a "very clear" threat to the national security.
"So we have to revise some of the rules here, not to make it hard for you to make money but to protect first and foremost the Republic of the Philippines," he told the firearms and ammunition dealers.
Duterte said some government troopers were killed by the rebels because they "can choose the time, they can choose the place where to engage."
The government does not have the "luxury of numbers of soldiers to stretch out all over the Philippines," he added.
"But anyway, my plan is really to deny them. Deny them of space; deny them of weapons," Duterte said, noting that the government has been at war with the Maoist group for almost 50 years already.
The Duterte administration has been pursuing a peace process with the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA.
The fifth round of peace negotiations are set from May 27 to June 1 in the Netherlands. Celerina Monte/DMS