Military tally: 87 NPA guerrillas surrendered, yielded 16 guns in January
MANILA, Philippines—The military has counted 87 communist rebels who surrendered in Northern and Central Luzon in January alone.
“For the first month of the New Year, a total of 87 former rebels have already returned to the folds of the law and yielded a total of 16 assorted firearms,” said the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), based in Tarlac province, in a statement released on Monday (Feb. 1).
The surrendered rebels, the Nolcom said, are now fulfilling requirements to avail themselves of benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which is part of the Duterte administration’s “whole-of-government” approach to the insurgency.
The well-funded program offers housing, education, health care, livelihood financing and cash to surrendered rebels. Each firearm surrendered by rebels would be paid P50,000.
In 2020, the military said at least 396 communist guerrillas have turned themselves over to the government along with 96 firearms, which could have fetched P4.8 million.
The Nolcom said 222 of the surrendered rebels had received P15.9 million in total while 174 others are still waiting for the release of government grants for their livelihood.
Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., Nolcom commander, said the number of surrendered rebels was evidence that the insurgency in Northern and Central Luzon was “on the brink of irreversible collapse.”
He said he believed the military was on track in meeting its deadline to end the insurgency, at least within Nolcom jurisdiction, by the time President Rodrigo Duterte steps down in 2022.
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