President Rodrigo Duterte has promised 700 rebel returnees, mostly from the New People’s Army, that he will give them protection and aid as they reintegrate themselves back to mainstream society.
On Thursday, Duterte witnessed the oath of allegiance of 700 former rebels and supporters in Panacan, Davao City.
“Obligado pud ko nga tagaan tamo ug proteksyon, pareho pud sa akong mga sundalo nga ako pud kupkupon kay ila man nang trabaho,” he said.
“Kamong nangurender, mupusta pud ko sa akong kinabuhi para ninyo. Muprotektar pud ko. Tabangan tamo pagtindog… Dili tamo gutumon,” he added.
[I am obliged to give you protection, the same way I look after my soldiers because it’s their job, too. You who surrendered, I will also gamble my life for you. I will also protect you. I will help you stand up… I won’t starve you.]
Duterte also warned the NPA not to go after their former comrades.
“Kanang naminaw ninyo na NPA, ayaw na ninyo buhata na, na inyong dumtan ning nag-surrender,” he said.
[Those NPA members who are listening, don’t do it, don’t hold a grudge against those who surrendered to the government.]
Duterte said only qualified former rebels could join the police force or the military anyway.
“Trabaho na eh. Kamong mga NPA, kung inyo ning hilabtan—ahhh… Kung unsay buhaton nimo nila, mao pud akong buhaton nimo. Ana mana. Daog-daog na eh,” he added.
[That’s work. You NPA members, if you hurt them—ahhh… Whatever you will do to them, I will also do to you. That’s how it is. That’s oppression.]