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Duterte offers P2 million bounty for capture of NPA leaders

Christina Mendez, Emmanuel Tupas, Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star
Duterte offers P2 million bounty for capture of NPA leaders
“Just tell me if you have killed a commander or know where he sleeps. The reward will be P2 million if he is a top commander,” Duterte said during a taped television address yesterday morning.
STAR / Joven Cagande, file

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has offered a P2-million cash reward and change of identity to any individual who can provide information leading to the arrest of top leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Just tell me if you have killed a commander or know where he sleeps. The reward will be P2 million if he is a top commander,” Duterte said during a taped television address yesterday morning.

Whether the tipster is a member of the police, the military or a civilian, Duterte said he would place the person under the government’s protection program to prevent the communists from getting back at the informant.

“The one who provided the information to the police or military that resulted in the arrest of the commander would receive a share in the reward and would be removed from the place,” Duterte said.

At the same event, Duterte lamented how the NPA guerrillas took advantage of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic by assaulting soldiers who were assisting local officials in distributing relief goods and cash assistance to poor families in the countryside.

Duterte said he wanted female officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to assist local officials in distributing relief goods, but warned about the risk of possible NPA attacks.

He said female officers empathize with the community, which make them different from their male counterparts. He said women are more patient, understanding and caring than men. 

Being a former mayor, Duterte lamented that some local officials are sympathizing with the NPA rebels, which is why they continue to thrive in rural areas.  

“The reason why they thrive until now is because some of them are supporting the Communist Party of the Philippines. That’s the truth behind it,” Duterte said, referring to some local officials.

More informants

Following Duterte’s pronouncements on the bounty, the AFP is expecting more civilian informants with valuable information to come forward and help the military defeat the insurgents.

“This is good news for the AFP. That will be additional reward aside from what is provided under the AFP Reward System. This will bring in more informants,” AFP chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said.

Santos expressed confidence that with inroads made by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the armed conflict would be over before Duterte’s term ends.

Santos said the AFP has been gaining ground in its sustained campaign in reducing the NPA’s strength across the country.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo thanked the President for his commitment to reward informants, which could lead to the neutralization of top NPA leaders.

The additional bounty from the President, he said, will benefit people who have been providing significant information that led to recent decisive operations against the NPA.

Arevalo gave assurance that the military would immediately comply with the President’s order to secure local officials distributing cash aid to beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa ordered his men to intensify law enforcement operations against the NPA. 

Gamboa issued the directive after the President offered a P2-million reward for the arrest or killing of NPA commanders. 

The bounty, Gamboa said, will motivate government troops to beef up operations against the rebels. 

He condemned the recent attacks by NPA guerrillas on the military troopers.

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