29 NPA rebels surrender
MANILA, Philippines — Relentless combat operations in Mindoro supposedly resulted in the surrender of 29 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, 18 of whom are from an indigenous tribe.
The former rebels surrendered over the weekend to the Army’s 4th Infantry Battalion (IB), 203rd Brigade and San Jose Police in Occidental Mindoro.
According to the 203rd Brigade commander, Col. Marceliano Teofilo, the latest batch of surrenderers belonged to Sangay ng Partido Lokalidad and Milisyang Bayan and were tasked by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA to act as spies, tax collectors and recruiters.
“These rebels decided to return to the fold of the law due to our relentless combat operations and community support programs in the geographically isolated and disadvantage areas,” Teofilo said.
“Our troop deployment in Mindoro is continuous and we will not stop until the CPP-NPA’s only option left is to surrender,” he said.
From Buhid tribe
The 203rd brigade commander said the 29 surrenderers claimed they realized they were being deceived by the CPP-NPA and they were enlightened by the government’s good intentions when they surrendered to the military and the police.
Eighteen of the 29 surrenderers, who belong to the Buhid (mountain dwellers) tribe, are known as pot makers and live in the towns of Roxas, Bansud, Bongabong and in some parts of Mansalay in Oriental Mindoro, as well as in the municipalities of San Jose and Rizal in Occidental Mindoro.
“The successive surrender of the NPA members and supporters is a clear manifestation that communist terrorists group is no longer effective. Even indigenous people are well aware of their deception and recruitment tactics,” said Lt. Col. Alexander Arbolado, commander of the Northern Mindanao-based 4th IB.
Arbolado called on relatives and friends of active NPA members to convince them to surrender and return to the fold of the law.
Police Brig. Gen. Thomas Apolinario Jr. noted the effectiveness of joint military and police operations against the NPA in Mindoro Island.
“I encourage all of the local government units, stakeholders and peace-loving Mindoreños to continually cooperate and support our government,” he said.
The 29 NPA surrenderers are undergoing debriefing, documentation and psychosocial intervention before their enrollment in the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.
Under the E-CLIP, a former rebel can receive P15,000 immediate cash assistance, P50,000 livelihood assistance, firearms remuneration, get access to housing, as well as medical and legal aid.
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