Duterte: Destroy the NPA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte had strong words against the New People's Army (NPA), saying they should be treated with as much force as the fight against illegal drugs.

"Just like drugs, dito sa giyerang ito [in this war], destroy the NPA. Destroy the organization," he said.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

In a speech before fishermen and soldiers at Compostela Valley on Monday, Duterte said he was building a country for Filipinos, and those who wanted to destroy it would get the same from him.

"I'm building a country, I am the President. I'm building a country that is para sa (for the) Filipino citizen. Do not destroy it by drugs, do not destroy by a revolution because I will destroy you," he said.

Duterte was speaking at the launch of the TienDa Para sa mga Bayani in Camp General Manuel T. Yan, Sr.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office said the project is a trading center set up inside the camp, where farmers and fisherfolks can sell their products directly to soldiers at an affordable price.

Basic commodities such as rice, vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat and fish will be sold in the outlet.

'I will slap you'

Duterte also did not hold back when he talked about CPP leader Jose Ma. Sison.

He challenged Sison to come home and face him, and said he would slap the communist leader.

"Magkita tayo Sison, sampalin kita, tignan mo. Oo, walang lokohan. T*** i** sasampalin talaga kita. Mayabang," Duterte said.

[Translation: Face me, Sison, I will slap you, you'll me. No joke. Son of a b**** I will really slap you. Braggart.]

Just a week ago, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte was open to having a private conversation with Sison, even if he was not open to resuming talks with communists.

Read: Roque: Duterte wants to have private talk with Joma Sison

"Right now he's closed to it, his mind is closed to it (peace talks). But what will prompt him to reopen is really the CPP-NPA to be more humble, and he did explore the possibility of a one-on-one with Joma Sison," Roque said.

In November last year, however, Duterte said he will not allow Sison to set foot in the country, threatening his arrest.

Roque said the President wants to talk to Sison, "just the two of them, personally - with no fanfare."

The government in November ended the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP, following the escalation of attacks and violence.

Read: Duterte formally ends talks with Reds

Last December, Duterte declared the communist party and its armed wing a terrorist organization.

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

The government and communist rebels have been battling each other since 1969.

CNN Philippines Digital Producers Pia Garcia, Yvette Morales, Eimor Santos and VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.