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By Genalyn Kabiling

Food, shelter and livelihood assistance await communist rebels who will surrender to the government, President Duterte said Friday.

KNG75 President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 118th Police Service Anniversary at Camp Brigadier General Rafael T. Crame in Quezon City on August 9, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 118th Police Service Anniversary at Camp Brigadier General Rafael T. Crame in Quezon City on August 9, 2019. (KING RODRIGUEZ / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“If you want to surrender, just drop it. Drop your gun and go to the nearest police or military camp and I will give you a house, provide you with the skills. TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is there,” he said during the 118th Police Service anniversary celebration at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

“During the time that you are learning the skill, I will pay you. Libre pagkain [Free food]. I’ll take care of your food until such time that you are able to make it on your own,” he added.

The President made the remarks after revealing that communist leaders were “insisting” on reviving the peace talks with the government.

Duterte, in an earlier speech at the Palace, said the communist group’s negotiators Fidel Agcaoili and Luis Jalandoni wanted to return to the country to jumpstart the peace talks.

“They are insisting on resuming the talks…they want to come home to talk,” he said. He added that the two negotiators were seeking a dialogue following the brutal killing of four cops in Negros which he had blamed on communist rebels.

In 2017, the government terminated the peace talks with the communist rebels in protest of its attacks on government troops and other atrocities.

The administration instead sought to create local panels to talk with rebels who want to surrender.