Davao City – The military has welcomed the city’s plan to revise its anti-discrimination ordinance to include former rebels as among its beneficiaries after the area has been cleared of communist insurgents.
In an interview on Monday, Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, Army’ 10ith Infantry Division (ID) commander, said the move “would hasten the reintegration” of rebel returnees “into the mainstream society without any fear of discrimination.”
“Everyone deserves a second chance as Acting Mayor Sebastian Duterte told our FRs that the moment they surrendered to the government, they were already forgiven,” Mempin said, referring to the former rebels.
Through the joint area clearing board by 10ID and the Police Regional Office–Davao Region, several guerilla fronts and Pulang Bagani Command posts of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) 5 were dismantled.
The military described the achievement as a significant development, noting that the SRC5 was once the bastion of the NPA in the country.
Apart from the declaration of victory, the March 24 ceremony also welcomed the former rebels into rejoining the community.
Duterte thanked the Philippine Army and the former rebels for their success in making the city insurgency-free.
“You are already forgiven. You are welcome to restart your life here in Davao City,” he told the former rebels.
He also promised to engage the City Council in legislating measures that would ensure that former rebels are not discriminated against in the city as they seek livelihood or employment.
The city’s anti-discrimination ordinance declares as unlawful the acts and conduct of discrimination based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, and religious affiliation or beliefs.
The ordinance also lists discrimination based on health status.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (Christine Cudis)
(Source: Philippine News Agency)