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Rody: Housing project also open for rebels

“House-and-lot” packages are up for raffle for rebels in Davao City, President Duterte promised yesterday.

Attending the groundbreaking ceremony of the Biyaya ng Pagbabago (Grace of Change) housing project in Tugbok District, Davao City, the President said that upon its completion in 18 months it will be open for New People’s Army (NPA) combatants who are ready to give up their weapons.
The housing project is made possible through the San Miguel Corp., whose president and CEO Ramon Ang was present in the said event, and the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation which was established by the President’s late mother Soledad Roa-Duterte.
“These housing units and lots will be on lottery for Tugbok district residents. Well, also for the NPAs if they’re willing to surrender,” Mr. Duterte said in Visaya.
“So, it has to be luck. That’s why we’re giving it through a lotter,” he added.
Before officially standing to talk in the presidential podium, as he arrived earlier than the other guests, Duterte was able to talk to the crowd in an informal manner and discussed residential woes echoed following left-wing group Kadamay’s forced occupation of an uninhabited housing projects in Bulacan last March.
Giving houses to the poor is the best that the government could do to prevent chaos coming from the urban poor sector, the Chief Executive pointed out while reminding them not to replicate what Kadamay did.
“We have to give it to Kadamay. They are also Filipinos. Instead of, what, ejecting them by force, with guns it would be violent. And the government will always be responsible for violence,” Duterte said.
“I am confident that you are not like Kadamay, who wants to pick fights... Just promise that you won’t be violent,” he added.
Kadamay, being an above-ground left-wing group, is often associated to the underground communist movement and its armed wing, the NPA.
Duterte also took the opportunity to express his apparent frustrations over the ongoing peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF).
The President said that he is not happy with what rebel leaders told him recently over dinner in Malacañang: that they cannot control all the operations of NPA units in various areas throughout the country.
“You NPAs, we have a problem here. Tell your commanders to stop killing my men. I keep my men, I’m their Commander in Chief, to stay in camps. But you, NPAs, are ambushing them, killing your fellow Filipinos,” he said.
“I talked to NPA leaders in the Palace. But they cannot assure me anything. They said that they cannot control NPA operating units.”
CPP-NDF leaders Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon recently met with the President in Malacañang about two weeks ago.
Duterte said that the NPAs seem to take his peace offering for granted.

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