2 more NPA rebels surrender in Bukidnon

By Mel Madera

July 17, 2018, 5:26 pm

MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon -- Two more members of the New People’s Army (NPA) based in this province voluntarily surrendered to the military, an official said Monday.

The rebels surrendered to the Army’s 8th Infantry (Dependable) Battalion (8IB) based in Impasug-ong town on July 13, said Lt. Col. Ronald Illana, the brigade commander.

Illana identified the surrenderers as alias Sander, 20, who brought along with him a US Springfield rifle, and a certain Alias Jems, 20, who also yielded a Carbine rifle and live ammunition.

Sander and Jems, who separately surrendered on the same day, were both members of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC) but belonged to different operating units, the military said.

Illana urged NPA combatants to follow the steps of their former comrades, adding it was “never too late for the victims of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA ideology to see the truth behind the lies.”

On July 5, some 118 NPA supporters and Milisya ng Bayan (MB) members from Impasug-ong town pledged their support to the government. Illana said it was made possible through the joint effort of local government officials and 8IB’s Community Support Program (CSP) team in Barangay Bulonay.

Former rebels may avail of the government’s livelihood programs to help them transition to a peaceful life, the military official said.

Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commander of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade, appreciated the decision of the two NPA rebels to surrender.

"I am glad that Alias Sander and Alias Jems, who were deceived by the NPA terrorist leadership, finally made up their minds to return to the mainstream society, embrace peace, and be with their families again,” Vinoya said.

Vinoya also criticized the CPP-NPA for “continuously forcing civilians to become direct participants to hostilities.”

Vinoya assured the former rebels that they will be provided cash, livelihood and housing assistance, employment, and PhilHealth benefits through the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

On July 2, 27 former members of the NPA received cash remuneration for their surrendered firearms in a ceremony held at the headquarters of the 403rd IB in Camp Osito Bahian based in Malaybalay City.

Capt. Norman Tagros, 403rd IB civil military operations chief, said each rebel received an amount ranging from PHP2,000 to PHP80,000, depending on the kind and quality of the firearms surrendered, as evaluated by the Philippine National Police. (Mel B. Madera/PNA)