Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army. (Photo courtesy of 62IB)

DUMAGUETE CITY – The recent mass surrender of 16 members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-News People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Negros has dealt a big blow to the long-running insurgency on the island, a key Army official said Sunday.

Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, told the Philippine News Agency that the development is a positive outcome of sustained military efforts, particularly for Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental, as this would bring “peace and development”.

The former rebels (FRs) who surrendered during a ceremony last week attended by military, police and local civilian officials included key leaders and members of the Central Negros 1, Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor (KR-NCBS) under the Leonardo Panaligan Command.

“I commend the Task Force ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) of Guihulngan City for their efforts to entice the remaining members of the CN1 in returning to the folds of the law,” Pasaporte said in mixed English and Filipino.

As to the impact on the underground movement, the Army commander said the rebel group is now “weakening” even though there are statements from their leaders that “they are projecting to be strong”.

In his message during the ceremony, Pasaporte said the surrender “revealed the incessant deceptions and vile intentions of the (terrorists) to the people of Negros”.

He reassured the FRs of assistance in availing of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and other benefits that would help them start their lives anew.

Pasaporte said there will be another round of mass surrender soon in one of the towns in Negros Oriental covered by his brigade but he did not elaborate for security reasons. (PNA)