President Rodrigo Roa Duterte made a renewed call Saturday to the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to lay down their weapons and return to the fold of the law citing an already bankrupt hierarchy of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and National Democratic Front (NDF).
“Sinasabi ko lang hinto na kayo. Mag-surrender na kayo kasi walang ginawa ‘yang mga lider ninyo. It’s plain banditry,” President Duterte said in a televised address during a meeting with the members of the Cabinet and health experts.
“There is no more ideological setup in their minds. Ang kanila na lang magkilkil sa mga tao. You are not fighting anything anymore, not even a religion, if you may, wala.”
The communist rebels are no different from the terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), which sow terror in Mindanao through kidnapping and bombing campaign.
While the rebels collect millions through extortion from big businesses and corporations, their leaders, who amass huge sums of money, live lavish lifestyles and send their children to study overseas, according to the President.
The rebels disturb public order and prevent the country’s development and progress, the President said, adding his government will provide assistance to those who will surrender.
“Sumurender (surrender) na kayo. Ako, ‘pag nag-surrender kayo, bahay. Mayroong mga condo na ginagawa ko sa probinsiya, ‘pag nag-surrender kayo sabi ko na sa sundalo — para kanila ‘yon eh — sabi ko, ‘Bata, pasensiya ka na, ibigay na lang natin dito para madali ang pacification campaign.’”
Livelihood and skills training will also be available to them through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), he added.
Meanwhile, President Duterte renewed his promise to include the rebels in the government mass vaccination campaign once the vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available in the country.
“The vaccine is available to every Filipino citizen including the Communist NPAs so that you can fight better and you are healthy, because I know that you will die,” chief executive said.
“In the name of humanity, we will not deny kasi ano ‘yan eh. Pero just to make you healthy so that you will die. ‘Pag hindi kayo naghinto.”
The country’s vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the inoculation will be available in the country possibly in summer next year.
The Philippine government is negotiating with several pharmaceutical companies for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines such as Pfizer Inc., Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax Inc, and China’s Sinovac and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.
The country’s vaccine procurement will be funded by multi-lateral financial institutions World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other sources. PND