Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte asked for the revoking of licenses granted to mining companies which are found to be supplying explosives to rebel groups operating in the southern region of the Philippines.

This was one of his instructions to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during a meeting of the National Security Council’s Executive Committee which lasted from March 19 night to March 20 early morning, said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

The President directed the DENR to revoke the licenses, permits of mining companies violating explosive handling rules or reported to be supplying explosives to communist terrorist groups, according to Harry Roque.

Duterte also ordered that personnel of the military or police also found violating rules on explosives face automatic expulsion.

The President, in previous speeches, threatened to close down mining companies financing terrorist groups in the southern region, including the New People's Army (NPA). 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also called on NPA fighters to surrender.

According to statistics of the Philippine army, the NPA has about 3,700 fighters who are operating mainly in Davao and Caraga regions. Some 30,000 people were killed during conflicts between the Government and the NPA over the past half a decade.-VNA