PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has offered jobs and houses to New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who will lay down their arms, raising hope of finally ending the country’s communist insurgency problem.
The hard-hitting Duterte made the offer in a well-applauded speech during last Wednesday’s 23rd anniversary celebration of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Taguig.
If the NPA rebels really want to stop fighting, Duterte, the country’s first Chief Executive from Mindanao, said that “all you have to do is drop your weapon, give it to your leader and come down.”
“At I’ll give you a job… And I’ll give you a space, instead of giving to the soldiers muna. Sabihin ko lang sa sundalo na maghintay-hintay lang kayo. Tutal may pera naman every year,” said President Duterte.
At the same time, the long-time mayor of Davao City said he did not bring up the issue of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) funds ending up in the hands of the NPA.
The issue came out following the Commission on Appointments’ rejection of former DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo’s appointment.
“You know, I did not raise that issue because para sa akin, it’s too fundamental. Sabi ko sa mga military, kung pera lang, pati pagkain, pumunta sa NPA na gutom, at ‘yung ayaw mag-NPA na hindi miyembro nila gutom, para sa akin, pareho lang ‘yan,” he added.
For the sake of the suffering Filipino people, let’s welcome the offer of President Duterte to the NPA, which is the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Of course, we cannot overemphasize the importance of bringing down the level of the saber-rattling between the protagonists – the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF.
This, if they (the two sides) are to return to the negotiating table to thresh out their differences.