News Release

Secretary Bong Go expects NPA to be sincere in peace talks with government

Sec. Bong Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President joins Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu as they inspect the firearms laid down by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) surrenderors during the launching of the Maguindanao Balik-Baril Program at the Buluan Municipal Gymnasium in Maguindanao on April 25, 2018. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday, April 25, appealed to communists to show their sincerity when the government and the rebels return to the negotiating table.

“Pati po itong sa left ‘no, sa NPA (New People’s Army). Mag-uumpisa na po ang pag-uusap nila. Kaya po nanawagan ako na sana maging sincere sila sa pag-uusap,” Go said in a media interview in Buluan, Maguindanao.

“At alam ko sa panahon lang po ni Pangulong Duterte matutuloy po ito. At alam po ng left na si Pangulong Duterte lang po ang pwede ninyong kausapin,” he added.

He accompanied President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the launch of Maguindanao Balik-Baril Program.

Secretary Go recalled that when Duterte was still the mayor of Davao City, they would go to the mountains even without bodyguards to meet with the communists.

“Noon pa ‘yan, kahit nung mayor pa siya ilang beses na kaming umakyat sa bundok. Kaming dalawa lang ni Pangulo. Nakakausap niyo siya dahil may tiwala po siya sa inyo, kaming dalawa lang umaakyat doon, walang bodyguard,” he said.

“At alam niyo gaano ka-sincere si Pangulong Duterte sa pag-uusap na ‘to. Sana kayo rin,” he further said.

Meanwhile, the President’s long-time aide also expressed his views on the government’s Balik-Baril program.

“Maganda po ‘to. May mga ino-offer po ang local government na livelihood,” he said.

Go said the President has instructed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to work with the local government and the military.

At the same time, he said Duterte has also directed the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to study how those who surrendered loose firearms could be given lands.

“At sabi nga niya kanina pag-aralan rin ng DAR kung papano nila bibigyan ng lupa,” Go said.

“Tulad dito ‘yung tungkol sa palm oil ‘no, bibigyan ng seedlings ng government. Eh saan mo naman itatanim ‘yan kung walang lupa,” he added.

The Maguindanao Balik-Baril program provides livelihood assistance, scholarship grants, and weaving tools to those who will surrender their loose firearms.

“Ine-enganyo po namin lahat na mag Balik-Baril program na po at meron ring nakahanda ang gobyerno para dito,” he said.PND