MALAYBALAY CITY – A mass surrender ceremony for 117 members and supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) was held in Sitio Mainaga, Barangay Iba, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon on Wednesday.
Capt. Norman Tagros, the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade’s civil-military operations officer, said 20 of the surrenderers were members of the NPA’s Militia ng Bayan (MB) who also brought along with them 18 assorted firearms.
Tagros said the 97 others were members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL), the NPA’s underground mass organization.
Gen. Eric C. Vinoya, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, assured the former members and supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA of the government’s assistance through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Vinoya, co-chairman of the Bukidnon E-CLIP Committee, lauded the decision of the surrenderers to “reject violence and terrorism” of the NPA and its political wing, the CPP.
He said NPA regulars and Militia ng Bayan members will receive cash and livelihood assistance, firearms remuneration, and housing, health, and employment assistance.
Lt. Col. Ronald M. Illana, commanding officer of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, called on the surrenderers to sustain their allegiance to the government and support the poverty alleviation program of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Cabanglasan Mayor Renante V. Inocando hailed the rebels’ surrender as a “symbolic day not only for our municipality but also for the country.”
Inocando praised the former rebels for supporting the government and for answering the people’s call for “peace and freedom from all threats of violence and terrorism.”
The mayor assured that the local government will continue to deliver basic services and consult with the former rebels to ensure their successful transition from the communist movement to mainstream society. (Mel Madera/PNA)