8,000 Reds surrender under localized peace talks — Lorenzana
MANILA, Philippines —More than 8,000 communist rebels have surrendered since the government carried out localized peace talks, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.
In a Palace briefing, Lorenzana noted that most of the communist rebels who surrendered were from the Region 11 (Davao region), Masbate, and Samar.
“For this year only, sabi nga ng in-charge, si General (Reynaldo) Mapagu, more than 8,000 already came down,” Lorenzana said.
The Defense chief said that some 1,700 of the surrenderees were the rebel group’s unarmed “militias,” noting that they are now surrendering because the issues raised by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) are now being addressed by the government.
He added that the government is now offering a “complete package” for rebels who want to surrender.
“Iyong TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) they are going to train these people for skills. And hindi lang iyon, hindi lang sila iti-train kung hindi ihahanap pa sila ng trabaho kapag tapos na silang mag-training,” Lorenzana said.
“So this is a complete package that we are giving to those who are coming down, ‘yung mga tinatawag natin mga former rebels that will join the government or join the community so they can live also normally within the communities,” he added.
Lorenzana also said President Rodrigo Duterte was right in terminating peace negotiations with CPP leaders and implementing localized peace talks instead.
Talks between the administration of President Duterte and the communist rebels broke down last year as the government cited continued attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP, against state troops despite ongoing negotiations. /muf
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