News Release

President Duterte offers olive branch to Leyte communist rebels

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech after leading the distribution of benefits to former rebels at the San Isidro Central School in Leyte on January 23, 2020. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech after leading the distribution of benefits to former rebels at the San Isidro Central School in Leyte on January 23, 2020. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

SAN ISIDRO, Leyte—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, January 23, made an offer to communist insurgents in Leyte saying he is ready to give them land and livelihood if they return to the fold of the law.

In a speech during the distribution of benefits to former rebels, the President said the revolution being waged by the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) can’t solve the country’s problems and the solution is to break the feudal system that exists in the countryside.

President Duterte said that so far, he has distributed 140,000 hectares of land since he became President in 2016 and will be distributing more to the landless.

According to Leyte local officials, there are 2,000 hectares that could be distributed to farmer beneficiaries.

“The 2,200 hectares — tell your crazy comrades to get down here because they won’t be a part of the distribution if they aren’t here,” the President told the former rebels who were given support by the government.

“I will give all the lands to the Filipino,” he added, stressing he wants those parcels of land be released to beneficiaries in three months.

Once the lands are distributed, the Department of Agriculture will assist farmers in analyzing the soil to determine the suitable crop that could be grown in those locations.

The President also underscored the importance of education to help people get out of poverty, advising his audience to send their children to school to break the cycle of poverty in their area.

“Your children will not be able to escape poverty, never get to be educated. In the Philippines, what’s important is for your children to have education. That is the only way for you to get out of poverty,” the President said.

Also on Thursday, the commander-in-chief expressed his gratitude to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Leyte provincial government, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, the Task Force Balik-Loob, and other agencies for their initiatives on the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip).

“Your contribution is vital to the progress of our goal here. I hope that our progress will continue through our government programs to someday put an end to the communist insurgency as well as bring peace and prosperity to our communities,” said the President.

During the event, eight representatives of 262 former rebels received the multi-million financial aid from the President. The former rebels were also given remuneration for their firearms.

A P5-million check intended for the construction of a half-way house for the former rebels was also turned over by President Duterte to a Leyte provincial task force.

LGUs affected by Typhoon Ursula last December also got financial assistance from the President. The provincial government of Leyte received P10 million while Tacloban City was handed P5 million. Several other Leyte municipalities were given P3 million each. PND