PRESIDENT Rodrigo Durerte predicted that the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army will soon collapse as hundreds of communist rebels and sympathizers are giving up their arms in exchange for a better life and integration into the society.
The President said that with more rebels surrendering, he hopes that the Armed Forces can quash the rebel group soon.
“We are trying to really go out and just embrace them as brothers… If they [the NPA] become decimated by the number of surrenderees, maybe the Armed Forces can finish them off next year,” Duterte said in a meeting with the local chief executives of Luzon at the Royce Hotel in Pampanga.
The military said more than 2,000 NPA fighters, militia members and mass supporters have given up this year alone.
The President lauded the joint efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the local government units for the increasing number of surrendering rebels.
Dutere said surrendering rebels are given livelihood opportunities and housing units.
“We are about to complete many—in Davao City we will have 1,000; in Tagum about 700. Then Surigao and in Zamboanga. Here in Bulacan we have also completed many units,” he said in Filipino.
“It’s a matter of how to talk to them sincerely and if they want to surrender, they will have their own houses then we can give them money in the transition,” Duterte added.
Rebel returnees can also be trained by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Duterte said, noting that the country is in need of more skilled workers.
“There are construction [jobs] in Manila, Davao, and Cebu that have temporarily stopped because of the absence of skilled workers,” he said.
The Army, meanwhile, said it is open to settling the conflict with the NPA peacefully.
“We are the forces on the ground. We’re always interested in reaching a settlement,” said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva.
“In the first place, it’s always us who are [on] the verge of conflict, we are the ones who are always affected by this conflict,” he added in Filipino. With PNA
But Villanueva said that the NPAs should show sincerity and fully comply with a ceasefire once oneis in place.
Duterte, on Nov. 23 signed Proclamation 30, ordering the termination of all peace negotiations and meetings with the rebel group, after a series of attacks on military and police personnel. With PNA