Duterte offers to pay Lumads ₱20K each to kill NPA rebels

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 10) — President Rodrigo Duterte offered to pay Lumads ₱20,000 each to kill members of the New People's Army (NPA).

Duterte, in a speech in Davao City Friday, said he is offering to train the indigenous groups for three months to kill the rebels.

"If they are well trained enough, give me about three months, I will train them as CAFGU (Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit) and give them firearms and go out and hunt for those who killed their comrades," Duterte said.

The President's remark comes after a Lumad tribal leader and his son were killed by suspected NPA rebels on February 4, after attending an Indigenous Peoples' Summit in Davao City.

"Isang NPA mapatay ninyo, kayong mga Lumad na maging CAFGU, I'll pay you… you want money? I'll give you money," he said.

Duterte said he will offer a reward for each member of the NPA killed.

"I will make it ₱20,000 per head," he added.

The President earlier said the Lumads are also set to receive ₱100 million financial aid from the government, to help with livelihood projects as well as to counter the influence of communist insurgents.

'All we've ever asked for is justice'

The Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) on Sunday decried Duterte's offer to indigenous people to go after members of the NPA.

The group said to be asked to kill in exchange for money is not part of their culture.

"The underlying principle of our struggle to defend the land of our ancestors can never be bought," said ALCADEV,  an alternative learning school providing secondary education to indigent indigenous youth.

It also deplored the killings of their leaders by members of the military, whom it called "murderers."

"To even ask us to kill, as if killing is the way to peace in our communities, shows ignorance of our plight and our struggle," it added. "We've never asked you to kill anyone; all we've ever asked for is justice.

ALCADEV said the Lumads would not do what the military and paramilitary did, which was to drive them away from their ancestral land.

Members of the indigenous communities in Mindanao have been often recruited to be part of the NPA, which Duterte has formally labeled as terrorists along with the Communist Party of the Philippines in November 2017.

In December, two United Nations rapporteurs voiced alarm over the "massive and potentially irreversible impact" of the Mindanao's militarization on members of Lumad communities.

They said some figures suggested as many as 2,500 Lumads have been displaced since October, adding there were reports of some farmers killed by the military.