From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): Duterte to rebel IPs: Yield arms, join AFP
President Rodrigo Duterte has called on tribal militiamen affiliated with the communist rebel movement to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law.
“They should stop fighting (against the government). For as long as they shoot and talk, they will remain neglected as it will be hard for the government agencies concerned to reach their respective localities,” President Duterte said, referring to New People’s Army (NPA) fighters belonging to Indigenous People’s groups in Caraga Region.
Duterte made the appeal in a speech as guest of honor and speaker during the 50th anniversary of Agusan del Sur in Cabadbaran City over the weekend.
The President noted that a sizable portion of the NPA cadres in Caraga belong to the lumads (IPs), adding that IP groups are being lured into the rebel movement because of poverty and lack of opportunities in rural areas.
Duterte noted the absence of able-bodied men in his numerous visits to IP communities in Mindanao, particularly in Caraga Region, saying “most of the dwellers there are women and children.”
Calling on the tribal militiamen within the NPA ranks to “lay down their arms,” the President also urge them to avail of the “plenty of services” offered by the government under his administration.
Those who wish to serve in the Armed Forces, he added, may train and be “integrated into the military service.”
After the speech in Cabadbaran City, the President proceeded to military’s Camp Bancasi, this city to talk to the troops and presided the giving of military honors.