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Marcos to troops: Be peacemakers in new approach vs. Reds

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Thursday the military should not just be "warfighters" but also "peacemakers" amid the new approach being enforced against communist rebels.

Marcos made the statement during his talk with the Army's 9th Infantry "Spear" Division in Camarines Sur. According to the Chief Executive, the government has been offering communists with a "life after their life as rebels."

"But now, the situation is beginning to evolve. And that evolution means that not only are you meant – they still train to be warfighters and in some occasions you have to go and fulfill your primary mission of defending the people or the communities here in Bicol," Marcos said.

"Also now, we are asking you to be peacemakers because we have changed our approach to the communist, terrorist groups that we have been encountering," he added.

"We are now not only presenting them with a military force, we are presenting them with other options. We are presenting them with a life after their life as rebels," Marcos said.

The President also acknowledged the role of the whole-of-nation approach when it comes to dealing with these rebel groups who want to bring down the government through armed struggle.

"And now I think even the – although they technically have not abandoned the concept of armed struggle, I think they – efforts of those dissidents had been redirected in another way," Marcos said.

"And that’s why your role as the Philippine military continues to be as warfighters, but now there is the additional mission that we are asking of you to be peacemakers," he added.

In a previous speech in the Davao region, Marcos recognized the role of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in making the area as "insurgency-free."

He had said the law enforcement authorities support towards the anti-insurgency task force has improved the living conditions of the residents. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News