Red surrenderees trigger AFP-CPP spat
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero disputed claims that the military has engaged in a publicity stunt when it recently presented several communist rebels who surrendered to authorities.
Guerrero said it was an indication of their “winning influence” in the communities.
“Definitely it is an indication of our winning influence in the communities,” he told reporters Thursday night.
President Rodrigo Duterte met with about 215 former communist rebels this week. They were part of the first batch of over 600 former members of the New People’s Army in Davao and Compostela Valley to return to the government fold last year.
The former rebels were also given a trip to historical spots in Manila as part of their three-day tour.
But the Communist Party of the Philippines said the NPA surrenderees were part of the AFP’s “propaganda offensive to paint the NPA as a waning force.”
It said the “Balik Baril” program and the Comprehensive Local Integration Program and other programs of the AFP are just “money-making rackets” where the military comes up with a list of ghost NPA surrenderees.
Guerrero admitted that most of their surrenderees were not part of “regular combatants” but members of the “underground political structure.”
“We have to understand that even if they are not regular combatants, they are party members..these are the sources of cadre so significant pa din,” he said.
He also explained that surrenderees undergo a “validation process” and they could not recycle or make up identities of communist rebels who turn themselves to the government.
The AFP chief said last month that there are about 3,700 NPA members nationwide, and they plan to reduce it by half by the end of 2018.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.