President Rodrigo Duterte has urged rebel returnees not to return to the hinterlands where they used to roam lest they be killed by their former comrades in the New People's Army.
Instead, Duterte suggested that the former NPA rebels enlist themselves as paramilitary members of the Citizens' Armed Geographical Units.
“To those who surrendered their guns, please be cautious. Because son of a bitch. You know how it’s going to be. So it’s best if you stay here. You know that you will really be killed,” Duterte told 238 former rebels, whom he met in Malacanang on Wednesday.
“So I suggest that you stay with the Armed Forces and be a CAFGU. You should be given that first so that you can go back to your hometown. You can’t go back to the mountains anymore unless you kill them all,” he added in his speech mostly in Cebuano.
Duterte told the former rebels in Malacañang that the government was doing its best to address the root causes of the armed struggle such as lack of education, lack of job opportunities, and landlessness of farmers, among others.
The former rebels, mostly from poor families and barely finished schooling, came from the provinces of Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur, and Davao del Norte.
Duterte previously hosted 215 former rebels also in Malacañang on February 7, the first batch of the 683 who were presented to the President in Davao City last December.
The government has cancelled the peace talks with the National Democratic Front and is encouraging peace talks with NPA units at the local level.
Duterte accused Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder and NDF Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison of brainwashing and using poor to fight for his cause.
"I cannot see any good thing that the NPA has done for your lives. Education? Son of a bitch. What did they teach your children? Armed struggle, how to die in this world. That’s what they are teaching, nothing else. Also, stealing what is not theirs because they believe that everything is communal and therefore shared. How will that be possible?" Duterte said.
"You are heading towards your death if you believe in Sison. Sison reads the works of Karl Marx and Mao Zedong. They don’t believe in anyone else," he added.
"Who is Sison? How is he related to God? Why do you believe in that son of a bitch? So what have you gotten from Sison then? Sison is a millionaire who is living abroad. The son of a bitch has been there for so many years," Duterte said. —NB, GMA News