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Surrender, gov’t will transform your lives, PRRD to rebels

By Lade Jean Kabagani / Philippine News Agency

RETURNEE. Moises Palacio (right), a member the New People's Army - Komiteng Larangang Gerilya operating in the hinterlands of Ilocos and Abra provinces, surrendered with firearms and ammunition to the military in Barangay Aluling, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur on Sunday (Jan. 23, 2022). President Rodrigo Duterte asked rebels to return to the fold of the law and avail of government assistance during the Talk to People Monday night (January 24). (Photo courtesy of Nolcom)

MANILA – Return to the fold of the law in exchange for a new and normal life.

President Rodrigo Duterte issued anew the offer to members of the New People's Army (NPA) during the pre-recorded Talk to People aired Monday night, saying the military will welcome and assist them.

"This is my order to the military: If they want to surrender, give them the chance to surrender properly and if they surrender the firearms, the next trip downstairs from the mountains, you accompany them," Duterte said.

"I’ll give you a house, I’ll give you a job, temporary, may suweldo ka na (you'll get a salary)," he added.

Duterte said they can also acquire livelihood knowledge from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

"Kung wala kang alam sa skills, mag-enroll ka muna kay General (Isidro) Lapeña at magturo sila ‘yung TESDA, magturo sa iyo kung anong klaseng trabaho gusto mo, technical, turuan kayo (If you don't have skills, you can enroll at Gen. Lapeña and TESDA. They will teach you, you can learn based on your preferred technical skills. They will teach you)," he said.

Duterte told the NPA rebels they must end the long-standing fight with government troops and just surrender because the government will help them.

"May suweldo kayo, may bahay kayo at you know, tapusin na natin ito. Tutal sinubukan naman natin ‘yang barilan. Wala mang nangyari. Pinatay mo lang ang Pilipino (You'll get a salary and house. You know, let's end this, since we already tried gun-fighting, nothing happened. You just killed Filipinos)," he said.

"Mag-surrender kayo. Makinig kayo, totoo. Marami naman nag-surrender, marami nang nabigyan ng bahay, nabigyan ng trabaho, nagbagong buhay na. Wala nga lang baril (Just surrender. Listen to this, for real. Many has surrendered, and they have houses and given jobs. They already have a new life but without a gun)," Duterte added.

The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

In December 2018, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which is tasked to “provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.”

There is also the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) that grants financial and livelihood aid to rebel returnees and their beneficiaries.

Help cut fallen trees for ‘Odette’ victims

Duterte urged the NPA and “small-time” illegal loggers to help cut fallen trees in areas ravaged by Typhoon Odette last month.

"I am encouraging the illegal loggers, ‘yung mga (those) small-time, go back there. Somebody will take a census or whatever and make it a formal document at ako ang magbayad sa trabaho ninyo (and I'll pay for your works). I’ll get it somewhere sa opisina ko. Opisina ko na ang magbayad para madali (from my office. My office will pay for it so it will be fast track)," Duterte said.

He said the NPA rebels who wanted to surrender can also help cut the trees to be donated to the typhoon-affected families who need to rebuild their damaged houses.

“Sabihin mo sa sundalo, magsurrender ako sir, may dala akong ano dahil magtrabaho ako na I cut trees. Baka I will accept you, walang kaso, wala lahat. Wala akong ifile sa inyo. Bumaba kayo. (Tell the soldiers, ‘I will surrender sir, I will work to cut trees.’ I may accept you without filing a case. I won’t file anything against you. Just go down from the mountains). This is my order to the military: If they want to surrender, give them the chance to surrender properly,” Duterte said.

Duterte said owners of chainsaws or portable sawmills may go to the office of the Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR) to get a permit to operate and cut fallen trees.

"Huwag ‘yang hindi pa putol ha, baka putulin ninyo ‘yang hindi pa naputol. Iyong naano lang, ‘yung nahulog (Don't touch those not fallen trees, you might cut those. Just work on the fallen trees), the trees that have fallen during the typhoon. If you commit to use that, we will pay you sa trabaho ninyo (for your work)," Duterte said.

"If you go there to cut trees also for the fallen trees for the benefit of the people there, I’ll pay you," he added.

Last month, Duterte issued a directive to procure tarpaulin sheets and lumber from uprooted coconut trees as the “fastest” way to make temporary shelters for “Odette” victims. (PNA)

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