PRRD eyes arming mayors vs. NPA attacks

MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he plans to allow the purchase of individual firearms so that mayors could protect themselves and their constituents from possible attacks by communist rebels.

In a speech in Masbate City on Wednesday night, Duterte said he is considering allowing local chief executives to purchase firearms to combat the New People’s Army (NPA).

Ako sinasabi ko lang sa NPA, ayaw kong armasan ang mga tao. Pero ‘pag sige ganun ang ano (I want to tell the NPA, I don’t want to arm people. But okay, if they’re like that), I will allow the purchase of individual firearms,” Duterte said.

Pati ‘yung mga mayor bigyan ko ‘yan ng armas talaga. Wala akong magawa eh (Even mayors, I will give them arms. I don’t have a choice),” he added.

Duterte said he would be forced to allow the arming of mayors since they “would feel naked” without firearms.

The President repeatedly vowed to provide communist rebels with housing and livelihood if they lay down their arms and return to the government fold.

The US State Department and the European Union have both tagged the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA as a terrorist organization.

Earlier, Malacañang described the 50-year insurgency as a “failed rebellion” as members of the NPA are ageing and declining in numbers.