Manila, Philippines — President Duterte will create an armed civilian group that he hopes will counter the New People’s Army (NPA)’s Sparrow unit, a group of urban assassins blamed for the deaths of several security forces and former rebels.
The President said his “Duterte Death Squad” would be sent to transport terminals, eateries and other public places to kill suspected rebels and even loiterers and junkies.
“I will create my own Sparrow. Walang hanapin kundi mga istambay na mga tao, prospective NPAs at bibirahin sila (They will look mainly for idlers, prospective NPAs and kill them),” the President said yesterday during the turnover of military and police housing units in Bohol.
“I will match their talent in assassinating people. They have firearms, for sure. That’s my plan,” he added.
Duterte said he would be satisfied if each member of the armed unit would identify one or two NPA rebels for liquidation.
The President said he had tried to talk peace with the communists but the rebels continued to kill soldiers and policemen.
“What I lack is a sparrow unit. That’s their advantage… So I will create a sparrow – Duterte Death Squad against the sparrow. There’s no problem. They are the enemies,” he said.
Duterte reminded soldiers and policemen to be careful when leaving their camps. He said NPA guerrillas would always attempt to seize their firearms.
He also reiterated his directive for government troops to shoot drug suspects if they feel that their lives are in danger.
“If they resist violently… if you believe your life is in danger, shoot. If you believe in good faith, son of a b****, they will shoot you. If you are behind that animal, shoot him,” the President said.
But after his tough talk, Duterte claimed he did not want to fight fellow Filipinos. He said no leader would want to declare war on his people forever.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año slammed critics of the administration’s move to deploy more troops in the Visayas and the Bicol region, saying they were creating fear among the people.
Año said members of the opposition and communist rebels should not interpret the issuance of Memorandum Order 32 as a prelude to the declaration of nationwide martial law.
“Martial law will not be declared in the country. What MO 32 will do, on the other hand, is to focus military and police presence in those areas where insurgents are active,” he said in a statement.
Año said critics are just looking for ways to put the administration in a bad light.
“The opposition and communists are reading too much into the Order and are intentionally trying to instill fear or panic among the Filipinos,” he said.
The former AFP chief said the purpose of MO 32 is just to facilitate the movement of
troops from other parts of the country to Bicol, Samar and Negros Island.
Only enemies of democracy are fearful of Duterte’s directive to suppress violence in some parts of the country, he pointed out.
“The communist terrorist groups and their front organizations are crying foul over this because they know for certain that they will be decimated by government forces once these troops are deployed,” said Año.
He also assured the public that order will not lead to human rights abuses by state security forces.