15 NPA militia, 15 kin surrender to Army
MANILA — More than 30 New People’s Army militiamen and their families surrendered to government troops in Compostela Valley over the weekend, bringing with them several firearms and explosives.
The 1001st Infantry Brigade based in the province said the group was led by a certain Roberto Hiyan, the leader of the “Milisya ng Bayan” of three barangays (villages) in Maco town.
Col. Macairog Alberto, commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade, said of the 35 who surrendered, 15 men were militia of the New People’s Army while the rest were family members.
“The 15 are undergoing processing at the Compostela Valley provincial government. They will get support from the provincial government and will be part of the comprehensive local integration program (CLIP),” the military official said.
The militiamen surrendered with their families at the headquarters of the 1001st Infantry Brigade last Saturday.
They brought with them an M60 general purpose machine gun, two M16A1 Armalite rifles, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, a small improvised explosive device, a commercial high frequency radio with charger and several documents.
Upon their surrender, the military provided the rebels with temporary shelter while the local government has been processing the status of the 15 militiamen.
NPA militiamen are like the military’s civilian militia and are different from the NPA’s regular armed fighters, according to Alberto.
The NPA militiamen are the ones who would carry out landmine attacks or plant improvised explosives as ordered by the NPA’s regular armed fighters, who are the ones who ambush soldiers.
The rebels decided to give up because of the difficulty and danger of the situation and that some felt that they were being exploited by the communists, Alberto said.
“It’s a positive development. They were recruited by the NPA regulars. The regulars would issue orders to the militiamen and are the ones who actually ambush our soldiers,” Alberto said.
The military official said the surrender was the fruit of their efforts to convince them to surrender and to adhere to peace and development – not armed struggle — as the solution to their impoverished situation.
The military did not disclose the identities of the returnees for security reasons, adding that they have been evacuated from their homes as well.
The 10th Infantry Division to which the 1001st Infantry Brigade belonged also conducted medical assessment and psychological counseling of the returnees, giving them food packs, etc. SFM
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