Palace to Joma: ‘If you want war, we’re ready to go to war’

MANILA -- If you want war, we're ready to go to war.

This was the statement made by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque a day after President Rodrigo R. Duterte blasted Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Joma Sison for his remark that the New People's Army (NPA) was still capable of launching attacks that could kill one soldier a day.

In response, Duterte, in meeting with NPA rebel returnees in MalacaAang Wednesday, said that he could have five NPA rebels killed for every soldier killed.

Duterte's speech before the NPA rebel returnees was delivered in the Visayan dialect.

Asked to clarify Duterte's statement, Roque said the President warned Sison not to threaten the government.

I think the message is, 'You don't threaten us Joma Sison, Roque said in a Palace briefing.

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're ready to go to war, he added.

Roque said that Duterte wanted Sison to know that there were enough government resources to retaliate should the NPA launch attacks.

Nandiyan ang resources ng gobyerno at hindi dapat tinatakot ang gobyerno na parang mas malaki pa ang kakahayan nila manaig sa isang digmaan. Handa ang buong sandatahan kung gusto nila ng digmaan (The resources of the government are there and he should not threaten the government as if they have better ability to win a war. The military is ready if he wants to wage a war), Roque said.

In meeting rebel returnees, Duterte said it was a good decision for them to return to the fold of the law instead of fighting and dying for a flawed cause.

Duterte, meanwhile, assured them that his administration will provide them shelter, jobs, livelihood, and education for their children.

He also said that he planned to send female former rebels to Hong Kong and China for them to have a grasp on the successes of capitalism to counter Sison's ideology.

This is part of Duterte's promise to welcome them in MalacaAang during a meeting in December last year in Panacan in Davao City. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency