DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte renews his call to end the government’s dispute with the New People’s Army (NPA) to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao as he graced the 12th anniversary of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) on Thursday, August 23, at the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM) in Panacan, Davao City.
“Life isn’t that easy. Life has to evolve, and progress and development can’t be rushed through a revolution. If you’re always calling for revolution and killing people, nothing good will happen to our nation,” President Duterte said.
The Chief Executive also expressed hope that the government will finally reach an understanding with the communist rebels.
“So kung maari lang sana ayaw ko talaga. That’s my mission. I want peace for my land,” he stressed.
He also vowed to bring to the Republic of China and Hong Kong some of the former female NPA rebels who have surrendered to the government to see the economic development of China, noting that the country also adopted the characteristics of a capitalist economy in spite of having then a communist ideology.
“I will let you go to China and Hong Kong. See personally what kind of communism it is… See how good it is, how modern those communists are,” he said.
Meanwhile, during his speech, the Chief Executive read aloud a letter signed by United States (U.S) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and U.S Defense Secretary James Mattis. The message, according to the President was reaffirming the United States’ “strongest support” to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“I have nothing against America, and I’m sure wala rin kayo. Wala tayong dynamics dito. But mine is more of just the — what is the reality on the ground. Ngayon bumabawi sila,” he said.
In the same event, President Duterte also conferred medals and gave plaques to outstanding members and units of the Armed Forces as well as Mindanao stakeholders in acknowledgment of their remarkable service and contribution to his administration’s campaigns.
The President also viewed around 700 surrendered and recovered firearms by the Armed Forces.
The President lauded the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines particularly the men and women of the Eastern Mindanao Command for their exemplary service in the government.
“I’d like to congratulate the men and women of the Eastern Mindanao Command and those who passed before you, mga sundalong namatay and send our prayers for them,” he said. PND