As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has recognized terrorism as the biggest danger to Filipinos.
"Actually, the number one threat to our country, hindi ang mga Abu Sayyaf, hindi yung mga terorista of no value, itong mga high value targets ay itong mga komunista," he stressed in his regular public briefing on COVID-19 every Monday. "Kaya utos ko sa Armed Forces, upakan mo."
According to Duterte, the decades-long war against the New People's Army (NPA) has "undermined the national security."
The chief of state added, "Ngayon, at what point will the country suffer a downfall? I don't know. But if I do not do my duty now as President, as the other presidents did during their time, we might just bargain, or place in jeopardy the democratic values that the Filipinos enjoyed."
He was particular about reports of the NPA allegedly raiding the distribution of the social amelioration program, especially with the second tranche looming:
"Huwag na tayo sana umabot sa... that I have to kill you, kung wala nang iba."
The president's statements against the communist rebels come on the heels of the Congress and Senate passing the Anti-Terrorism Act. Duterte revealed during the briefing that his legal team is still reviewing the controversial counterterrorism law.