Rebel returnees presented to SK guv, get financial aid

By Edwin Fernandez

February 2, 2018, 12:34 pm

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat -- Military and police official presented on Thursday 32 former communist rebels to Sultan Kudarat Governor Pax Mangudadatu as part of the government’s reconciliation program, officials said.

Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, chief of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB), said eight of those presented to the governor recently yielded to his unit, while 19 and five others separately surrendered to the Sultan Kudarat police provincial office and Army’s 1st Mechanized Battalion, respectively.

The rebels all belonged to the New People’s Army (NPA) Guerilla Front 73 operating in the mountains of Sultan Kudarat.

At the provincial capitol, the 32 surrenderees received a check of P20,000 each as livelihood assistance under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program for rebel returnees.

Additional assistance are in place for the surrenderees in exchange for the firearms they surrendered to government, Cabunoc noted.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, Police Regional Office-12 director, said the surrender of the latest batch of rebels was a huge blow to the organization.

“I hope other rebels will follow and come down too so they can live normal lives,” Morales said.

The military said if the surrenderees are qualified then they will be absorbed as para-military troops after undergoing military training.

Mangudadatu said he would work for the establishment of a school in far-flung villages of Sultan Kudarat where the rebels used to operate so their children could go to school. (PNA)