President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his appeal for communist rebels to capitulate and hand over their weapons, claiming that their ideology is no longer relevant.
Duterte, in a pre-recorded Talk of the People on Monday, ordered members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to reject their useless ideology because “their (‘leaders’) brains are no longer as good as before.”
“You have not been successful in all your ideological confrontations. Ang naiwan sa inyo magpatay ng tao lang. For what? Iyan lang,” Duterte said.
“Sabi ko sa inyo, drop the gun, drop the armed struggle, wala talagang mangyari, sabi ko sa inyo,” he added.
Duterte further assured them that if they reintegrated into normal society, they would have a better life.
He emphasized that communist guerillas who surrender to authorities will receive free housing and financial aid.
“Komunista, you want to live a normal life? Drop the guns. I’ll give you the house and I’ll give you the money to start,” Duterte said.
Duterte also stated that government troops will continue to pursue communist rebels who refuse to comply with his orders.
“What purpose are you trying to show to the world? That you are capable of killing people? That’s what you are showing to us and to the world,” he said.
Duterte praised the government’s efforts to address the root causes of communist insurgency through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in his sixth and final State of the Nation Address on July 26.
Over 17,000 former rebels, including NPA members, have surrendered as the government implements various peace and development programs in communist-infiltrated regions, according to Duterte.
He also expressed confidence that, with the support of local government units, the communist movement “will continue to erode in the next few months.”
For NPA rebels who surrender to police, the government is executing the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Former rebels would receive P15,000 in urgent aid, P21,000 in subsistence or meal costs, support to relocate and secure their families, and P50,000 in livelihood assistance under E-CLIP.
Other benefits include temporary housing, enrolment in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, modified conditional cash transfers, and medical, legal, and livelihood help.
The Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have all designated the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.