Duterte: Communist rebellion over by 2019

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — President Rodrigo Duterte believes the five-decade long insurgency of communist rebels will end by 2019.

"I think that kung maawa ang Panginoong Diyos , this will be over by about the second quarter of next year. Ang dami na kasi nagsu-surrender. And ang maganda diyan is ang armas," Duterte told troops during a visit at Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela on Tuesday.

[Translation: I think, God forbid, this will be over by about the second quarter of next year. There are plenty of surrenderees. And what's good is that they will also surrender their weapons.]

He said communist fronts in Mindanao have already failed.

"I think we are winning the war finally. Maraming front sa Mindanao bumagsak na, especially on the right side, eastern — Davao, Agusan, 'yan banda. Dito sa western, wala naman silang malakas na front because the Moros are there," he said.

[Translation: I think we are winning the war finally. There are many fronts in Mindanao that have failed. Especially on the right side, Davao and Agusan. In the west, they have no strong fron because the Moros are there.]

Duterte also lauded the military's efforts, which have led to almost a hundred members of the New People's Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) — to surrender.

"The development of our nation has always been hindered by insurgency and terrorism. I therefore commend the active involvement and relentless efforts of the 5th Infantry Division against various threat groups in your area of operations," he said.

But CPP founder and the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front Jose Maria Sison, belied the President's remarks.

"Duterte is delusional by claiming that he shall have destroyed the CPP-NPA and the entire revolutionary movement of the people by the middle of next year," Sison said in a statement on his Facebook page. "He is taking too much of Fentanyl. Thus, he is pipe dreaming."

Sison said the Duterte government is bankrupt, and weakened by corruption in the administration and the military, ballooning debts, trade deficits, higher tax policies and rising prices of goods.

He then said Duterte is now the target of people's hatred.

"It is more likely that Duterte would be ousted from power than that he could destroy the people´s revolutionary movement by the middle of next year," Sison claimed.

Duterte previously accused communist rebels of conniving with opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes and members of the Liberal Party. The three, Duterte warned, are reportedly plotting his ouster this September 21 — a claim which all three parties have denied.

READ: Duterte warns of ouster plot from Liberal Party, Trillanes and communists

Peace talks between the Reds and the Duterte government have ended in November. More than a week later, the President formally signed a proclamation designating the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.