Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the insurgency in Davao City is tame compared to that in other provinces in the Davao and Caraga regions where military and the armed New People’s Army (NPA) meet in sporadic encounters.
Not much, he said of the NPA operating in the city’s hinterland districts of Paquibato and Marilog.
The NPA the past weeks carried out bloody raids in police stations in Caraga Region, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Bukidnon.
The NPA First Pulang Bagani Command under Leoncio ‘Parago’ Pitao has a heavy presence in Paquibato and Marilog, but has limited their activities in the two far-flung districts.
Duterte has a back-door agreement with the NPA to spare his city from violence.
He also maintains cordial relations with NPA ground commanders and most often act as go-between in negotiations for release of troopers and soldiers seized by the communist rebels.
‘RPOC an instrument of peace not war and violence’
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte took on his new post as chairman of the Davao Region Peace and Order Council (RPOC) on one condition: he would use the RPOC not as instrument for war and violence but a tool for peace.
Duterte said he set this condition when Interior Secretary Mar Roxas handed him his appointment papers signed by President Benigno Aquino.
Duterte’s added post carries the responsibility of addressing the insurgency problem in the Davao Region, tagged by military as a hotbed of the communist insurgency.
Duterte said the insurgency cannot be resolved with military firepower and is advocating that peace negotiations with the leftist National Democratic Front (NDF) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA).
Encounters between the military and the rebels occur often in the Davao Region, where several fronts of the NPA operate.