Duterte claims Lumads account for 75% of NPA foot soldiers: Sila ang pinupusta ng NPA

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President Rodrigo Duterte is urging Lumads to stop their rebellion and join the military before their numbers get wiped out from the exploitation of the New People’s Army (NPA).

In an interview in Butuan City Saturday, Duterte said the Lumads, or indigenous people from Mindanao, “will remain neglected as long as they talk and shoot.”

Duterte said that in exchange for their surrender, each Lumad rebel would be drafted in the military. “Parehong sweldo. Sundalo talaga, may sweldo, may trabaho. Diyan kayo sa NPA, magtiis kayo,” said Duterte.

Duterte said that unless a “strongman” would succeed in convincing them to abandon the NPA, their population would be wiped if they allowed themselves to be exploited for another 50 years of fighting.

“75 percent of the rebels now, Lumads. Sila ang pinupusta ng NPA. Hindi ‘yung mga Bisaya, hindi ‘yung mga Ilonggo, hindi ‘yung mga Ilocano. Sila ang ginagawang sundalo. Pagka kaunti-kaunti nila, sila ang maubos. ‘Yung tribo nila will be left with — wala ‘yung mga lalaki, nasa — pumayag na gawing sundalo,” said Duterte.

Duterte was confident that as long as the Lumads got a grasp of how democracy worked, they would lay down their arms and side with the government.

“Kaunting clank na lang sa utak. They have to learn about democracy, about the right — the majority prevails over the minority, the Republican form of government, that not all of us can be accommodated in the House of Congress, so we elect leaders to represent us, and that is what we call Representatives. Matutunan nila ‘yan, maintindihan nila kung ano,” he said.