PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte vowed to protect and assist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who would surrender to the government.
The President made the assurance during the presentation of two former NPA rebels who turned themselves in to government authorities over the weekend at Matina Enclaves in Davao City.
“The Chief Executive pledged that NPA surrenderees would be welcomed and accepted; assured the rebel returnees of government’s protection and assistance as they begin to immerse in the civilian way of life,” the Palace said in a statement on Sunday.
Likewise, the President thanked the former rebels for laying down arms and appealed for support for the Duterte administration.
The former rebels were given transitory housing units, cash and financial assistance, food packs and smartphones.
The President first made the call to the NPA to lay down its arms in exchange for jobs back in November.
At that time, the President made the pitch in connection with the initiative of his daughter, Sara Duterte, to localize the peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF)—the umbrella group of all communist organizations in the country—in Davao City.
The Duterte administration has called off peace negotiations with the NDF due to a supposed violation of a ceasefire agreement when NPA rebels launched a series of attacks against government troops, including one against a presidential convoy. LLANESCA T. PANTI