Lorenzana: Reds being 'delusional' for thinking they can overthrow gov't

By Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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The Communist Party of the Philippines has said that President Rodrigo Duterte is becoming the “best recruiter” for the New People's Army and called the Armed Forces of the Philippines as “best supplier of arms for the armed revolution.” AP/File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government on Saturday hit back at the Communist Party of the Philippines for “living in a dream” thinking that Leftist rebels could overthrow the state and replace it with a communist government.

The CPP on Friday said the Armed Forces of the Philippines is “delusional” for saying it could reduce the number of estimated 3,700-strong communist insurgents by half this year.

Responding to the underground Left’s statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said it is the CPP that is being "delusional" for assuming they can defeat state forces and found a communist government.

Lorenzana also said that while the AFP never stated it could end the CPP’s “miserable existence” within the year, security forces are confident they can degrade the offensive capability and extortion activities of the New People’s Army, the communists’ armed wing.

“The empty talk of the CPP-NPA will not diminish our defenders’ resolve to finally put a stop to the communist-terrorists decades-long exploitation of indigenous peoples and rural communities,” the defense chief said.

“Far too long, they have impeded progress, denying the Philippines a chance to fully develop and depriving the Filipino people the opportunity to improve their quality of life,” he added.

The communists have been waging a guerilla war for almost five decades in a bid to topple a “bureaucrat” capitalist system that has caused one of Asia’s widest rich-poor gaps despite the Philippines’ rich natural resources.

Communist fighters are known for collecting “revolutionary taxes” from local businesses in rural areas—an activity that authorities qualified as plain extortion. They are also recognized for their deadly attacks on police and military outposts.

In 2002, the US Department of State designated the CPP-NPA as foreign terrorist organizations.

Amid continued hostilities, President Rodrigo Duterte last November unilaterally scrapped the reactivated peace talks between the government and Maoist rebels. Both sides have been in on-off negotiations since 1986.

He said peace talks were called off because of the Left’s “pure nonsense” demand for a coalition government, and the rebels’ supposed lack of sincerity.

He later declared the CPP and its armed-unit as terrorist groups, raising concerns among activists in the national democratic movement that legitimate organizations could be targeted as supporters of terrorism.

EXPLAINER: Why Duterte's 'red-baiting' of activists is dangerous

For its part, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process also on Saturday said it remains optimistic that the peace process would move forward this year "through other means" despite the setback in talks with communist rebels.

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