MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Saturday, April 22, urged Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to encourage her friends from the New People's Army (NPA) to "lay down their arms, stop all their criminal and terroristic activities, and become legitimate citizens of the Philippines."
"Kung gusto talaga tumulong ng CPP-NPA, bitawan na nila ang kanilang mga armas, itigil ang extortion, at magbalik-loob na sa lipunan," Lorenzana said on Saturday.
(If the CPP-NPA really wants to help, they should lay down their arms, stop extortion, and return to society.)
His statement comes after Lopez was quoted this week as saying she already asked President Rodrigo Duterte if she can work with the NPA, whom she "likes."
According to an Inquirer report, the environment secretary plans to develop Agusan del Sur into an E3 (ecological, economic, and educational) zone.
Back then, she said she considered the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and former NPA members she had met as "really good people" who are, in fact, "better than some businessmen" who "just want to rape the country."
Lorenzana on Saturday commended Lopez for her commitment to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development in the country.
He said the Department of National Defense is still awaiting official communication on how it can help the Department of Environment and Natural Resources establish the E3 zones across the country.
"The Department of National Defense welcomes all initiatives that will help uplift the lives of our countrymen and bring livelihood to our communities. In fact, the main goal of our Philippine Defense Transformation Roadmap 2028 is the attainment of a more credible defense posture that will lead to national development,” Lorenzana added.
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.