The New People’s Party (NPA), an armed wing of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), intensified attacks last weekend when Duterte was in Beijing to attend an international forum.

A soldier was wounded in a firefight with rebels Saturday in the northern province of Kalinga.

In a separate incident on Saturday, the rebels also kidnapped son of a former town mayor in the southern Philippines province of Agusan del Sur also.

The latest attack was on Tuesday when the militants stormed a police substation and ran away with one pistol, one assault rifle and two-way radios.

“As long as they are killing government forces I will not sign anything. There is nothing I can do about it. I am the commander-in-chief,” Duterte said upon arrival at the Davao Airport Tuesday.

The government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political umbrella of the CPP peace panels, have yet to resume talks in a bid to end decades-long conflict.

There had been over 40 rounds of peace negotiations under the past five presidents of the country but failed on various issues such as release of political prisoners and the CPP’s inclusion in the terrorist list.

When Duterte won the presidency in 2016, he launched new peace initiatives with the communists, but the peace negotiations have faced challenges due to truce violations.

Duterte said his offer to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison remains and he guarantees the communist leader’s safety should he decide to come home.

Anadolu Agency