President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday welcomed two New communist rebel-returnees and urged them to relay a message of hope to their comrades.
During the presentation of the NPA rebels at Matina Enclaves in Davao City, the Chief Executive expressed his gratitude to the two former rebels – Nilo Legazpi and his wife Wendy – for deciding to surrender to government.
At the same time, Duterte appealed to the former NDF members for their continued support to his administration.
Legazpi served as NDF spokesman in the Far South Mindanao area.
The President had assured the rebel returnees of government’s protection and assistance as they begin to immerse in the civilian way of life.
In previous statements, Duterte had urged members of the NPA to surrender, vowing to provide them with houses and jobs.
Duterte earlier declared that it is his obligation to protect the rebels who will surrender to the government.
Each of the former rebels was given a transitory housing unit, cash and financial assistance, food packs, and a smartphone.
Meanwhile, Duterte reiterated his desire for peace, noting that the war between the government and the communists has went on for an extended period of time.
According to the President, the economy in Mindanao, as well as in the whole country, would improve once peace is achieved.
Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza accompanied President Duterte in receiving Legaspi on Saturday.
“If they harm you, they have nowhere to go when I hunt them down,” said Dureza, who quoted the President.
Legaspi and his wife decided to return to the fold of law due to health reason.
“Their 17-yr-old son who dropped out of school due the kind of life they lived was so jubilant. The mother said she was aghast when she saw him so happy for the first time ever when he knew about the parents’ decision,” Dureza noted.
Peace negotiations between the government and the communist movement have been suspended following series of attacks from the communist New People’s Army.
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