Mayor Sara Z. Duterte has asked the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels anew to surrender and work for the government if they want to see the changes they wanted to achieve in their armed struggle.
During the presentation of rebel surrenderers and their firearms on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Sara reiterated said she was inspired by the story of one of the surrenderers, “Marikit” (not her real name), one of the 11 former NPA fighters who were presented to the mayor by the Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade (1003IB).
“I hope you, Marikit, and your former comrades, would help me tell the rebels that if they wanted real change, they have to work and be with the government,” Mayor Sara said.
Six of the surrenderers belong to the indigenous peoples (IP) group, who turned over 34 firearms and four improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
“The real struggle is not in the hills, but it is running the government. I realized in my nine years as a mayor when someone I knew died in the struggle. It was a great loss. They passed without experiencing real change,” Duterte said.
She also urged the surrenderers to help stop the NPA’s recruitment of minors and young people.
“This is because the child should be learning inside the school which is run by the Department of Education (DepEd) and not in the institutions teaching them to become anti-government,” she said.
The mayor assured the former rebels would receive government assistance, such as the aid packages provided under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
“Whatever gaps which the ECLIP cannot address, the city government will process and extend the assistance they further needed,” she said. PNA.GOV.PH