MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he would give job opportunities and housing to members of the New People's Army (NPA) who will lay down their arms.
"Kung ‘yung mga NPA, mag-surrender sila, meron kaming housing projects, Inday (Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte) has about 1,000 units. Ako may 1,000 units din. If they want to stop fighting, 'yung gusto, all you have to do is drop your weapon, give it to your leader and come down," Duterte said in a speech at the 23rd anniversary of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
"Di ko naman kailangan ‘yan, maraming baril ang bayan. At I’ll give you a job, automatic may trabaho sila. And I’ll give you a space, instead of giving to the soldiers muna," said Duterte, who had earlier offered military jobs to NPA members.
Duterte made the statement as clashes between government troops and communist rebels erupted from time to time in different parts of the country as peace negotiations remain suspended.
Duterte said he laments the waste of resources because of government's firefights with the NPA, which has waged a protracted rebellion against the state, and the Islamic State-linked Maute group, which has been repelling state forces in Marawi City for nearly four months now.
"Itong mga Left, they blow hot and cold, hayaan mo na muna ‘yan sila. But we could have saved a lot of money kung wala itong mga away na ito. Sayang eh, we could use the money for many, many [projects], lalo na land reform," he said.
Talks between the government and the communist National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) broke down after the government cited the NPA's continued attacks against state troops despite ongoing negotiations.