LEGAZPI CITY – A day after the mass surrender of rebels in Masbate province, another 15 members of the communist terrorist group (CTG) yielded to the 49th Infantry Battalion (49IB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Ligao City, Albay on Wednesday.
Capt. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson, in an interview on Thursday said the surrenderers include six regular New People's Army (NPA) members, three Milisya ng Bayan members, five members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL), and one mass base supporter.
The group turned in five high-powered and four other firearms.
“According to the surrenderers, they can no longer stomach the terroristic acts hurled by the CTG which endanger the lives of the innocent civilians including their own families,” Belleza said.
He noted that due to desperation because of their continuous debacles and waning support from villagers, the CTG has resorted to launching terror actions victimizing hapless civilians that further highlights their inhuman intentions.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Tapnio, commander of 49IB, said this development is the result of the consorted efforts of members of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).
Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr., commander of Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB), underscored in a statement that after their surrender, the government, including the Army, will continuously assist these former rebels as they reintegrate into the mainstream society.
“Hindi natin sila hinikayat na sumuko para lang may mailagay tayo sa ating database. (We are not encouraging them to surrender just to have something in our database). We are sincere to help them live a transformed life. Thus, we will continue to extend our hands to them as they start afresh. To the remaining members of this terrorist group, we know that you have been wanting to abandon the armed movement. If you are afraid that you and your family’s safety will be compromised once you decide to surrender, fear not. Our troops are ready to help so that you can safely go down the mountains,” Robinson said.
He added that as the RTF-ELCAC rolls out more and more tangible programs, projects, and activities intended for the sustainable economic and human development in Bicol, the JTF Bicolandia is confident that the CTG, which capitalizes on the underlying problems in the society to lure people into joining their hopeless cause, will certainly reach its natural death.
The NPA, along with the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)