President Rodrigo Duterte has Hosted More than 200 former rebels in Malacanang on February 07. These are former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and were the first of three batches to lay down arms and return to normal lives.
Following his decision to scrap peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)– the political arm of the NPA)– the President met with these former rebels.
Duterte welcomed the surrenderees and implying a message to the former NPA members that by laying down their arms, they can start anew with the help of government.
According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), 40 of the former rebels have met the basic entry requirements for enlistment as members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit, or CAFGUs, the AFP’s civilian auxiliary force.
Some of the former NPA members will be offered training for livelihood programs as a way for them to earn a living.
Despite pledging to give full protection for rebels who surrender, the President has been consistent in his stance to get rid of the NPA, once saying they should be treated with as much force as the fight against illegal drugs.
He has also not minced words when talking about the group’s founder, Joma Sison, saying he would slap him if they were to meet.
The government in November ended the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP, following the escalation of attacks and violence.