MANILA, Philippines, March 4 (UPI) -- Calling peace the foundation for progress, the Philippines' president Wednesday welcomed 18 former rebels into a societal-reintegration program.
Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday held a ceremony demonstrating a public show of faith that the Philippines government is committed to the peace process, the Philippines government reported.
During the ceremony, 18 former communist rebels from the country's Central Luzon region formally surrendered and agreed to take part in a program that will demilitarize and reintegrate the rebels back into society.
Macapagal-Arroyo said her government is committed to ending the rebel insurgency in the Philippines in 2010.
"Peace is an essential ingredient for progress and development," Macapagal-Arroyo said in a statement.
"We embrace our rebel brothers in the fold and spirit of unity and reconciliation."