If not for the violence and atrocities committed b the New People’s Army (NPA), the country could already have been a highly-developed nation.
President Rodrigo Duterte emphasized this Thursday night in a speech he delivered after leading the distribution of benefits to former rebels (FR) in a ceremony at the San Isidro Civic Center (SICC) in San Isidro, Leyte.
The Chief Executive said the NPA cannot solve the country’s problems through revolution alone.
“We cannot solve the problem of the Philippines by revolution… It has to be by evolution,” Duterte said.
“My brothers and sisters in the NPA, our country could have been highly developed if not because of your violence,” he added.
The President called on communist insurgents to consider the future of their children and finally put an end to the five decades-long armed rebellion in the country. He addressed active members of the NPAs shortly after the distribution of government assistance packages to at least 33 former NPA rebels and 229 Militia ng Bayan here.
The 262 former rebels received a total of P11.9 million immediate cash assistance from the government under various programs such as Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP. This is on top of the P5, 000 and cellular phone that will be given each to the former rebel from the Office of the President.
Another P5-million was also provided to the local government unit for the construction of the halfway house for the former rebels.
A total of 52.2 hectares of land was also distributed to the former rebels.
“Let’s stop the armed conflict. Have mercy on your children,” the President said.
President Duterte said the generational cycle of violence perpetrated by the communist rebels must come to an end.
The President underscored that the country’s youth must be educated in order to protect from the influence of the Reds, who use armed violence to promote their outdated cause.
“If we had the chance to talk at an earlier time… Why… Your children will not be able to escape poverty, never get to be educated. In the Philippines, what’s important is for your children to have education. That is the only way for you to get out of poverty,” President Duterte said.
In his speech, the President said the government can’t magically change everything and make the rebels rich but assured them that they can start turning their lives around through the government’s various livelihood programs.
“I’m not — I can’t say that you will all be rich. But you will have something to start with, a livelihood,” the President said.
“The important thing is for your children to be able to go to school. Do you understand? Do you understand me? That’s the only reason why I’m here, not to fight. Just trust me because we were once migrants. We suffered too,” he added.
The President said the government is ready to help members of the communist group reintegrate themselves into mainstream society through programs under Executive Order 70 which institutionalized a “Whole-Of-Nation” approach.
President Duterte noted that through the EO 70, the administration is carrying out initiatives to directly address the roots of the insurgency in the country.
Distribution of public lands
As part of its efforts to push forward the peace process with the rebels, President Duterte has vowed to distribute public lands to Filipinos in the countryside, especially to farmers.
“I will continue to distribute lands to you Filipinos” the President said.
“We in the government are doing everything” to help uplift the economic wellbeing of the people,” he added.