JAMINDAN, Capiz: President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to give state-owned land and livelihood to 17 rebel returnees so they could start a new life under the fold of the law.
The President met with former rebels during his visit to Camp Macario Peralta Jr. here Friday. The rebel returnees, who were members of an indigenous group, were from the remote town of Tapaz.
Aside from land, the President promised to give them seedlings, fertilizers and farm implements.
According to Nilo Prieto, a former rebel and member of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) executive regional party committee, the President said the communists and the government cannot fight indefinitely and must find a way to attain peace.
The initiative to entice the rebels to surrender is part of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) aimed at building confidence with those who want to turn themselves in.
It is a joint effort of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the local governments and other stakeholders.
The former rebels, five women and 12 men who surrendered starting 2011, are treated well to show that the government is sincere in convincing insurgents to return to mainstream society, Prieto said.
Aside from meeting the soldiers and the former rebels, the President also had a photo opportunity with them, as well as with camp employees.
Duterte was accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Ricardo Visaya, Maj. Gen. Harold Cabreros, chief of the 3rd Infantry Division.