3 'high-profile' Reds yield in Sarangani

By Allen Estabillo

July 4, 2019, 2:17 pm

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Three "high-profile" New People's Army (NPA) members have surrendered to government troops in Sarangani province following negotiations mediated by local religious leaders, an Army official said Thursday.

Col. Adonis Bajao, commanding officer of the Army's 1002nd Brigade, said in a statement that the rebels yielded voluntarily, along with their firearms, to troops of the 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB) in an undisclosed area on Sunday night.

Bajao said the surrenderers, whose identities were withheld for security reasons, were "high-profile" members of the NPA's Guerilla Front 71 operating in parts of Sarangani and Davao Occidental.

He said the returnees, who surrendered an AK-47, Armalite and Carbine rifles, were presented to Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon on Monday.

"They have renounced their support to the guerilla movement," the official said, adding that the three rebels who have long been planning to yield, did not reach out directly to government troops "out of fear."

Instead, he said, the former rebels pleaded with some pastors from the Sovereign Grace mission on Sunday morning help negotiate their surrender. The surrenderers are currently in the custody of the 1002nd Brigade for debriefing and further investigation.

Lizette Lopez, focal person of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in Sarangani, said they will immediately process the benefits for the surrenderers.

Under E-CLIP, former rebels are entitled to receive livelihood grants, housing assistance, skills training, health insurance coverage, and other related interventions.

Lopez said the three will also receive remuneration for the surrendered firearms.

“For now, what we can do is provide them immediate assistance like food, clothing and some personal hygiene and PHP8,000 initial financial assistance,” she said.

Since January, she said, at least 10 rebels from the province have already surrendered. (PNA)