Duterte warns of NPA rebels' mass arrest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — The President threatened he will order the mass arrest of members of the New People's Army (NPA) Tuesday.

"For those who are out temporarily, you just maybe zero in, because any day, I will order for their mass arrest. Wala akong magawa eh, ginusto niyo eh [I can't do anything since you asked for this]" Duterte said.

The threat comes a day after the President declared the NPA, along with its mother organization the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), as a terrorist group under the Human Security Act of 2007.

READ: President Duterte declares the communist party and its armed wing a terrorist organization

The Justice Department is set to file a petition before a regional trial court to approve the declaration.

READ: DOJ to ask court's approval to declare CPP-NPA a terror group

Some of the communist group's members were temporarily released on bail, to participate in ongoing peace talks.

But on November 23, all planned peace talks with the communist rebels have been formally canceled upon Duterte's order.

READ: Duterte formally ends talks with Reds

The President claimed he will not hesitate to carry out arrests against CPP-NPA members who violate the law.

"You always insist on the rule of law, you follow the law. And if you don't, then the simple thing is to arrest you and place you in prison. If you come by violent resistance, you place in danger the lives of people and the soldiers and the police, we will answer the appropriate action," he said.

On November 19, Duterte claimed communist rebels are criminals after a November 9 ambush in Bukidnon left a four-month-old baby and two other civilians dead.

"They are now considered ordinary criminals," he added.

Both police and military have heightened operations against the CPP-NPA. On December 3, the military claimed that 119 NPA have been "neutralized" for the month of November, with 69 of them surrendering to authorities. 

READ: AFP: 69 out of 119 'neutralized' NPA rebels surrender in November