By Azer Parrocha
SURRENDER. President Rodrigo Duterte returns to Manila a day after Christmas to meet with selected members of his Cabinet along with infectious disease experts in Malacañang Palace on Dec. 26, 2020. Duterte renewed his call for communist rebels to surrender, saying their leaders had no more “ideological setup in their minds.” (Presidential photo by Alfred Frias)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte has renewed his call to members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to surrender, assuring them of government assistance if they decide to return to the fold of the law.
In a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Saturday night, Duterte said CPP-NPA leaders had no more “ideological set up in their minds”, and nothing to fight for anymore.
“Sinasabi ko lang hinto na kayo. Mag-surrender na kayo kasi walang ginawa ‘yang mga lider ninyo (I’m just saying, surrender because your leaders are not doing anything anymore). It’s plain banditry,” he said.
Duterte said communist rebels are no different from the terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) that carries out terrorist attacks like kidnappings and bombings.
“Pareho talaga kayo ng Abu Sayyaf. No different. Ako pa sa inyo mag-merge na lang. Totoo iyan (You’re just like Abu Sayyaf. No different. If I were you, I would merge with them. That’s true)…You want money to come to your hands through or by virtue of the blood and tears of other Filipinos. Sinisira ninyo ang bayan (You’re destroying the nation),” he said.
Duterte said that while communist rebels extorted millions from big businesses and corporations, their leaders live lavish lifestyles and send their children to study overseas.
He vowed that the government would provide all kinds of assistance to those who surrender, including housing, livelihood, and education for their children
“Sumurender na kayo. Ako, ‘pag nag-surrender kayo, bahay. Mayroong mga condo na ginagawa ko sa probinsiya, ‘pag nag-surrender kayo sabi ko na sa sundalo — para kanila ‘yon eh — sabi ko, ‘Bata, pasensiya ka na, ibigay na lang natin dito para madali ang pacification campaign (Just surrender. If you surrender, you’ll get a house. There are condos being built in the provinces, if you surrender, since those are for them, I’ll say, ‘Apologies, but I’ll give them to you to speed up the pacification campaign),” he said.
Duterte also reiterated his promise to include them in the government’s mass vaccination campaign once the vaccine for Covid-19 becomes available in the country.
“The vaccine is available to every Filipino citizen, including the Communist NPAs so that you can fight better and you are healthy because I know that you will die,” he said.
He said that if they do not stop their attacks, the “gospel truth” is that they would definitely die.
“We will not… In the name of humanity, we will not deny kasi ano ‘yan eh. Pero (But it’s) just to make you healthy so that you will die,” he said.
In the same meeting, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the inoculation will be available in the country possibly in summer next year.
Currently, the government is negotiating with several pharmaceutical companies for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines like Pfizer Inc., Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax Inc., and China’s Sinovac, and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute. (PNA)