By ARGYLL CYRUS GEDUCOS
President Duterte is stepping up his game against the New People’s Army (NPA) as he offered to pay lumads R20,000 for each rebel they get to kill.
Duterte made the statement following the threat of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison to have the NPA kill a soldier per day if the government will not talk to the CPP.
Duterte, in a press conference in Davao City, also offered to train the indigenous peoples (IPs) for three months as Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to get back at those who had killed their fellow lumad.
“If you get one NPA, I will pay you. I’ll [give you] a reward. Kayong mga Lumad na maging CAFGU (those lumads who will become CAFGU), I’ll pay you. You want money? I’ll give you money. I will make it P20,000 per head. Marami na mang pera ang gobyerno (The government has a lot of money),” said Duterte during a recent press conference in Davao City.
Duterte has been after the NPA since he decided to formally terminate the peace talks with the communist rebels, citing their alleged ceasefire violations, last December, 2017.
On December, 2017, United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples and internally displaced people Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Cecilia Jimenez-Damary charged human rights abuses against indigenous and internally displaced peoples in Mindanao.
The two rapporteurs said human rights abuses committed on the lumad community in Mindanao could intensify after the Congress overwhelmingly approved the extension of martial law in the island until the end of 2018.
“We fear that some of these attacks are based on unfounded suspicions that lumads are involved with militant groups or in view of their resistance to mining activities on their ancestral lands,” they said.
Malacañang said the two Filipino rapporteurs were only out to embarrass Duterte in the international community.
Last week, Duterte vowed to extend R100 million for the livelihood programs and agricultural development of tribal communities in Mindanao to counter the influence of communist insurgents.
He also vowed to facilitate the entry of investors and government assistance to tribal areas for them to develop and secure sustainable livelihood.
“Mag-release ako ng P100 million, temporary, pangtawid ninyo sa normalcy. ‘Yun ang gamitin ninyo (I will release P100 million, temporary, which you can use to transition to normalcy. Use that.),” Duterte said.
However, lumads expressed opposition to Duterte’s proposal to bring in foreign investors and transfer them elsewhere.
Malacañang said the lumads are free to oppose the proposal and that the entry of investors will not happen if they really do not want it.