DAVAO CITY -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday vowed an inclusive government for all as he welcomed two New People's Army (NPA) rebel returnees.
During the presentation of the NPA rebels at Matina Enclaves here, the chief executive pledged that NPA surrenderees would be welcomed and accepted.
President Duterte expressed his gratitude to the two former rebels for deciding to surrender to government.
At the same time, Duterte appealed to the former NPA members for their continued support to his administration.
For his part, the president assured the rebel returnees of government's protection and assistance as they begin to immerse in the civilian way of life.
In previous statements, President Duterte had urged members of the NPA to surrender, vowing to provide them with houses and jobs.
He earlier declared that it is his obligation to protect the rebels who will surrender to the government.
Each of the former rebels was given a transitory housing unit, cash and financial assistance, food packs, and a smart phone.
Meanwhile, President Duterte reiterated his desire for peace, noting that the war between the government and the communists has went on for an extended period of time.
According to the President, the economy in Mindanao, as well as in the whole country, would improve once peace is achieved.
He recalled that in his years as the mayor of Davao City, his friendship with the communist rebels was forged by the shared experience of poverty.
The President referred to this as a common ground in understanding ideology and social issues.
Duterte however said that as a President, addressing the country's national security is his top priority and sought for the communists' understanding.
Source: Philippine News Agency