Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Duterte urges NPA to 'choose a better fight in life'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20, 2019): Duterte urges NPA to 'choose a better fight in life'

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday night urged communist rebels to “choose a better fight in life”, assuring that the government will provide them with livelihood assistance as long as they laid down their arms.

He told members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) that the moment they surrendered, he was willing to provide them with jobs, land, accommodation.

“Choose a better fight in life. Iyang makapabuti sa anak mo, kapwa tao mo, sa gobyerno mo (What’s better for your children, for your countrymen and your government),” Duterte said during his visit to the 8th infantry division of the Philippine Army in Catbalogan, Samar on Wednesday.

He encouraged remaining rebels to “repudiate outdated ideology, abandon their extremist activities, and return to the folds of the law” since they are already being outnumbered by soldiers.

“I will never run out of soldiers because you are outnumbered. I think one is to 1,000. Iilan lang kayo (How many are you)? And you choose to fight,” Duterte said.

Duterte admitted that he felt pity for them, but they refused to sit down for talks.

“Ako naaawa rin ako sa inyo (I also pity you). But if you choose the way of life, bahala kayo. Pero ako hindi ako magsabi na --- basta ako sabi ko ako peace lang (it’s up to you. But I’m saying all I want is peace),” Duterte said.

“Kung kaya ninyo makipag-usap, wala akong problema (If you can talk, I don’t have a problem). Just drop your weapon, stop fighting and we will talk,” he added.

Duterte earlier terminated peace talks with communist rebels but later issued Executive Order 70 which institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in attaining peace and created a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Sooner than later

Duterte, meanwhile, expressed confidence that the government could end communist insurgency in Eastern Visayas "sooner rather than later."

“With such valiant troops in the service of flag and country, I am confident that we can end the communist-terrorist scourge here in Region 8 sooner rather than later,” Duterte said.

Duterte hailed the troops or their anti-insurgency efforts over the past 18 months which have resulted in the capture and surrender of more than 1,500 CPP-NPA personalities and the recovery of several of dozens of firearms. 

PRRD VISITS SAMAR. President Rodrigo R. Duterte chats with the personnel of the 8th Infantry Division during his visit to Camp General Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan City, Samar on June 19, 2019. In his visit, Duterte also conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kampilan on soldiers wounded in recent clashes with the communist New People's Army. (Presidential Photo)

He particularly lauded their efforts in combating CPP-NPA terrorists last April and for supporting the more than 450 joint anti-illegal drug operations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) which resulted in the seizure of a considerable amount of illegal drugs and the arrest of several drug personalities.

The President, meanwhile, assured the 8th infantry division troops that government will always consider their needs, including those of their families.

“I assure you that you have the government’s full support as you fulfill your duty [of] securing our nation and protecting our people,” Duterte said.

“This administration will work hard to meet all of your needs and that of your families, and all that I ask is that you perform your responsibilities to the best of your abilities,” he added.

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