Give up, avail of gov’t support, PRRD tells NPA rebels
By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – Surrender, give up your weapons, and the government will support you.
President Rodrigo Duterte made the offer anew to New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, assuring them of free housing, financial and food assistance, in a speech delivered during the launch and oath-taking ceremony of officers of the Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy support groups and force multipliers at the Philippine National Police Multipurpose Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Friday.
Duterte said insurgents who want to reintegrate into mainstream society will undergo skills training under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
“Ang deal ko sa (My deal to) surrenderers, if you surrender, I will automatically give you a place to stay. Then, I will send you to Tesda under Secretary (Isidro) Lapeña. You learn the basic of whatever educational study that you can master. For the time being, I will pay you and I will support you with a food sustenance,” he said.
Duterte said members of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) armed wing, NPA, must also “drop [their] arms.”
He stressed that “surrender without arms is not good to [him].”
“Because nothing changes the equation up in the mountains,” Duterte said. “If the firearms are still there and they come down to surrender, minus the arms, then nothing has changed in the equation, in the totality.”
Duterte said the CPP’s politburo or the policymakers are earning billions of pesos at the expense of poor NPA bandits.
He said NPA guerillas must be enlightened by the “sad story of the CPP”.
“The politburo’s families and members, children are all abroad, enjoying the fat of the land from the Communist Party of the Philippines. ‘Yung mga anak nila (Their children) are studying in Europe, London. Some of them [are] traveling,” he said.
Duterte also cited intelligence reports that “a group” of politburo’s children went to Turkey upon the invitation of the government.
“And yet, their [NPA] soldiers down on the ground are dying sometimes without eating a day or two days,” he said. “Iyan ang hindi alam ng pobreng kawal ng sundalo (That’s what their poor bandits do not know). And this must be brought to life para malaman nila ang totoo (for them to know the truth).”
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist group by the Philippines, United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
On May 29, 2018, the Department of National Defense issued the implementing rules and regulations directing Task Force “Balik Loob” to enforce the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), the government’s program for former rebels.
Under E-CLIP, former rebels will receive PHP15,000 worth of immediate assistance; PHP21,000 to defray the subsistence or meal cost; support to relocate and secure their family; PHP50,000 livelihood assistance; and other benefits like temporary shelter, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation enrolment, modified conditional cash transfer, and medical, legal, and livelihood assistance. (PNA)