President Rodrigo Duterte commended the joint efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the local government units as more and more members of the New People’s Army (NPA) return to the government side.
“At no other time are the NPAs surrendering with their firearms. It is taboo to them here and in Mindanao, everywhere, na ‘pag nag-surrender ka tapos ibigay mo ‘yung armas mo sa sundalo o sa pulis, so talagang ha-huntingin ka because that is anathema, a taboo. Talagang yayariin ka,” President Duterte said during his meeting with the local chief executives of Luzon at the Royce Hotel on Wednesday, March 7.
“So mabuti’t na lang, marami na ang nag-surrender and… Also, I’d like to congratulate the Armed Forces and everybody, ‘yung mga mayors pati pulis, they are active in convincing people,” he added.
According to the President, he tried to reach out to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leader Jose Maria Sison but ended in a dispute after the rebel group demanded for a coalition government, which the government refused to give.
“So ‘yan ang sitwasyon doon. So there is an impasse. I don’t know who would blink first but definitely it would not be government,” Duterte said.
With more rebels surrendering to the government, Duterte said that he hopes to end the 50-year long war that has been ensuing between the two camps.
“We are trying to really go out and just embrace them as brothers and at no other time, maraming armas. If they become decimated by the number of surrenderees, maybe the Armed Forces can finish them off next year at mawala na ‘to,” Duterte said.
During his speech, the President assured the surrendering rebels of good livelihood opportunities as well proper housing availability.
“We are about to complete many — sa Davao City may 1,000 ako; in Tagum about mga 700 plus. Then Surigao and in Zamboanga. Dito naman sa Bulacan, meron rin ako marami nang natapos… Then I inaugurated the other day sa Marawi at iba pa and those are for the soldiers. But at the same time, mabilis din kaming gumagawa. But some businessmen who want to donate, gusto nila individual,” Duterte said.
“Si Inday, ‘yung anak ko na Mayor ng Davao, sabi ko, “’Day, iyo ‘yung mga sa NPAs.” I hope we can have it the momentum here. Tutal anyway, ang gagastos naman niyan karamihan is government,” Duterte said.
“It’s a matter of ‘yung program of how to talk to them sincerely and if they want to surrender, meron silang bahay then we can give them money in the meantime may transition sila,” he added.
As the administration’s forges forth to unit all Filipinos, the President also reiterated his stance to fend off corruption and to end abuses and misdeeds in the bureaucracy.