Remove people’s fear of communists: President Duterte tells military

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has instructed the military Thursday to secure the country’s barangays and eliminate people’s fear of communist insurgents and their ideology.

“The prevailing psychological ano diyan sa mga bukid is fear,” President Duterte said during the Joint Meeting of the National Task Force and Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Eastern Visayas held in Tacloban City.

“Hindi sa atin, fear of the communist. Kaya sa mga barangay ‘yan tanggalin talaga natin ‘yang takot.”

The military should make long effort to remove the anxiety of the people, which he said, are the real victims who have lived in the shadow of fear for many years.

The President acknowledged, however, that the insurgency problem cannot be solved overnight, as he called for the cooperation and solidarity of all sectors of society in ending armed conflict.

“With your support and patriotism, I am confident that we will triumph over the challenges ahead of us. Be assured that the entire force of the Filipino people, through the hands of the government, is behind you as well to secure a genuine and lasting peace for our motherland,” he said.

Thursday’s event is a giant leap towards ending the threat of communist insurgency in the country, the President said, thanking public servants and the members of the local communities for taking a strong stand against the communist armed conflict in Eastern Visayas.

He commended the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and Regional Task Forces for taking great strides in the government’s fight against communist insurgency through a whole-of-nation approach and the delivery of basic services in the conflict areas and vulnerable communities.

The Duterte government has implemented the Barangay Development Program (BDP) not only to address local communist armed conflict, but also to improve citizens’ welfare.

It has been working to ensure the provision of various services and public utilities through BDP such as the creation of farm-to-market roads, school buildings, and water and sanitation.

“I enjoin all local chief executives, especially the barangay captains, to support this administration’s relentless fight against criminality, illegal drugs, and insurgency to achieve sustainable peace,” the President said.

He also made an assurance that the government will continue to use all its resources to provide support to land reform beneficiaries, sustain peace and development in Communist Terrorist Group-cleared barangays, and fend off the rebels’ influence.

The chief executive also distributed 2,334 hectares of land to former members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

It has been the President’s policy to distribute idle lands to the people to spur development in the countryside and free communist hotbeds from the influence of the insurgents.

Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones told the President that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has identified 170,000 hectares of new lands.

President Duterte ordered Agriculture Secretary William Dar to help the beneficiaries by providing them seeds, fertilizer and farm implements to make the land productive.

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) will provide shelter to the former rebels while the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will give training for them to secure well-paying jobs in the future.

“Nandito si Secretary Lapeña — ‘yong trabaho, ‘yong turuan kayo ng maski ano, maski anong gusto ninyong — marami ‘yan silang trabaho to offer and they will train you. Paggawa, mekaniko ka, kung anong gusto mo,” he said. PND