President Rodrigo R. Duterte called on lumads or indigenous peoples of Caraga Region, who continue to fight with the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA), to abandon their armed struggle and surrender.
“They should stop fighting . Lay down your arms and avail of the services offered by the government,” Duterte said during his visit last week at an Army camp in Bancasi, Butuan City, where he inspected firearms seized from communist insurgents.
The president said various livelihood and development programs await tribesmen who “surrender peacefully” as he pledged that they will be welcome to join the government’s military or police force.
Young tribesmen were just being lured into the rebel movement because of poverty and lack of opportunities in rural areas, Duterte noted.
He also pointed out that a portion of the NPA cadres in Caraga were lumads who ended up being exploited by the NPAs in the underground movement.
During his visit, Duterte also assured the officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that his administration will try its best to look for a P50-billion trust fund that will be utilized for immediate support to soldiers, livelihood and educational assistance. By CLC