Is Duterte handing out cash, rice to Communist rebels?

Sep. 08, 2008

DAVAO CITY Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte denied giving rice and cash to the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the outskirts of Mandug and Callawa in Buhangin district.

Speaking in his weekly television program, Duterte said the city has been giving rice to barangay residents, but not to the NPAs.

He said that his daughter, vice mayor Sara Duterte, and his son, Association of Barangay Captains president Paolo Duterte, led the rice distribution program in the barangays.

Duterte was reacting to reports that he was handing out cash and transporting sacks of rice on a helicopterto the NPAs in Buhangin. He did not specify where the reports came from.

The mayor said he is not “that dumb” to show everyone he is handing out cash to an armed revolutionary group. “If ever I will do that, I’d rather deposit the money through the NPA’s ATM account,” Duterte said as he advised residents of Mandug and Callawa not to believe the reports.

Duterte said the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police were always with him to secure the place every time he paid the people a visit, so, it was not possible for him to hand assistance to the rebels.

The barangays (villages) of Mandug and Callawa have been known as NPA stronghold since the 1980s. Recently, the NPAs reportedly fled to these areas after a raid in a banana plantation in Tigatto, just a kilometre away from Mandug.

On July 30, the NPA’s first Pulang Bagani Company raided the banana plantation of Nonong Rodriguez in barangay Tigatto, where the rebels confiscated a 9mm pistol, a .22 calibre revolver and two shotguns and burned four dump trucks and heavy equipment.

Retreating rebels also raided the Cabaguio Farms in Mandug’s sitio (subvillage) Fatima and its adjacent Lapanday Farms where they reportedly opened fire at its airstrip hangar. (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/

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