Bukidnon guv asks ex-rebels to give gov't aid a chance

By Nef Luczon

May 30, 2024, 8:15 pm

<p>Bukidnon Governor Rogelio Neil Roque. <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

Bukidnon Governor Rogelio Neil Roque. (PNA file photo)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Bukidnon Governor Rogelio Neil Roque has encouraged former communist rebels in the province to give government interventions a chance to improve their lives.

In a statement Thursday, Roque said embracing the opportunity to start a new and peaceful life for former rebels signifies peace and development.

"If you endured 40 years of rebellion, hopefully, you can endure three years living with the government and see its livelihood program become successful," the governor said.

Roque also said former rebels are assured of the benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

On May 24, the Modified Community Support Program Team negotiated the surrender of seven New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay Kalabugao, Impasug-ong town, who brought in five high-powered firearms.

The recent surrender adds to the number of former combatants who responded to the government's call for peace and reconciliation this month, such as the surrender of high-ranking NPA officer Randy Bayot and 43 others earlier this month.

Col. Marc Bien Stevens Deslate, commander of the Army's 8th Infantry Battalion, said the surrenderers' decision came after experiencing extreme exhaustion and hunger due to successive focused military operations in the area.

Major Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of the Army's 4th Infantry Division, said the continuous efforts of the ground troops, the support of the civilian populace, and the programs implemented by line agencies under Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, are aimed to defeat the NPA forces "soonest." (PNA)