MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte called on the government’s anti-insurgency task force Tuesday night to work “doubly hard” in luring communist rebels back to mainstream society.
Speaking before a crowd of former insurgents in Tagum City, the President called on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and the Task Force Balik-Loob to address the Philippines’ insurgency problem, the longest in Asia.
“I hope that today’s event will continue to encourage the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, the Task Force Balik-Loob, and their local counterparts to work doubly hard in addressing the problems of insurgency so that our people can enjoy safer and more secure [communities],” Duterte said in his speech.
“I also enjoin the former rebels --- kamo ba (you) --- who are here with us today to maximize the opportunity to return into mainstream of society by being responsible, productive, peaceful and law-abiding citizens,” he said.
The President was in Tagum City for the awarding of housing units to communist rebels who surrendered to the government.
Duterte had sought to end the country’s insurgency problem when he assumed office in 2016. But government talks with communist rebels however have failed to reach any conclusion.
In 2017, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 60 which formally terminated negotiations with communist rebels. A month later, he signed Executive Order No. 70 ordering the creation of a task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”