By Teng Lauban Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief .
President Rodrigo Duterte encouraged all returnees to take advantage of the opportunity to start anew and lead a productive life with their families and loved ones following the successful disposition of arms and forces of the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade- Tabara Paduano Group or Kaptiran, recently.
“Be assured of the government’s full support for your reintegration to the mainstream society,” the President said.
“You know, itong civilization, lumaki ito, lumobo…it was not because of the so many rebellions perpetrated against government. It did not come about because of a revolution. It came about dahan-dahan lang. Nag-evolve tayo. It is always a product of evolution,” he said.
The President also reassured the 727 decommissioned members of the Kaptiran, that the government will protect them now that they have turned away from a life of violence.
“We are now duty bound to protect you. And if you think that you are in danger at titingnan ko that you are almost — kayo ang mamamatay, bigyan ko kayo ng bagong armas,” he added.
Part of the of the disposition of arms and forces of the Kaptiran is the training of 267 members who would qualify them as members of the Community Defense Unit.
They shall undergo 45 days of training in the areas of nationalism, chain of command, camp defense, disaster response and rescue operations, among others.
Duterte inspected more than 300 long and short firearms that were turned over by the Kaptiran to the government. Several high-powered firearms were also demilitarized onsite.
The President also urged the Department of Agrarian Reform to fast-track the awarding of land titles to the masses.
“Kung wala namang silbi ‘yang lupa ng gobyerno, hindi naman ginagamit, ibigay mo na sa tao kay may problema tayo. That’s my offer to the communists. Bibigyan ko pa sila ng bahay,” he said.
According to the President, Kaptiran members will be prioritized because of the peace agreement signed between the government and the former revolutionary group that led to the successful decommissioning of its members.
“There has been a reconciliation between our warring principle…kayo, mas lalo na kayo (kasi) nagkasaulian tayo ng loob, ” he said. (with reports from opapp)