Two more members of the New People’s Army surrendered to the 8th Infantry Battalion last Friday, July 13.
1Lt. Tere Ingente, the spokesperson of 4th Infantry Division, identified one of the surrenderees as alias Sander, 20, and a member of Squad 3 Pedler, Sub-Regional Committee 2 (SRC2), North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC).
Sander also brought along one US Springfield rifle.
Meanwhile, at around 4 p.m. of the same day, alias Jems, 20, a member of Squad 1, Platoon Jade, Sandatahang Platun Pampropaganda 3 (SPP3) Toto, Guerrilla Front 4B (GF4B), NCMRC also surrendered to the said unit bringing one Carbine rifle and live ammunition.
Last July 5, 118 CPP-NPA supporters and Milisyang Bayan (MB) members pledged support to the government through the joint effort of the local government of Impasugong and 8IB’s Community Support Program (CSP) team in Barangay Bulonay, Impasugong, Bukidnon.
“It is never too late for the victims of the CPP-NPA ideology to see the truth behind the lies,” Lt. Col Ronald Illana, commander of 8th IB said.
He said the government had laid down plans and programs to help communities and that there is no need for them to join any armed struggle.
“Moreover, people now appreciate the dedication and commitment of the government in order to achieve just and lasting peace,” Illana said.
Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commander of 403rd Infantry Brigade, appreciated the decision of the two former NPAs to finally embrace peace and return to the folds of the law.
“The surrender of these two victims of deception and lies of the CPP-NPA only proves that this terrorist organization is continuously violating the International Humanitarian Law by forcing civilians to become part of hostilities,” he added.
The Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) is the government’s program for former rebels and MB where surrenderees will receive assistance from the different government agencies to help them return back to their normal lives.
“Our government has been very supportive to the NPA members who decided to go back to the mainstream society and be partners for peace,” Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, commander of 4th Infantry Division, said.
“In fact, President Duterte has invited three batches of former rebels for a tour in Manila and dine with him in Malacañang Palace,” Villanueva said.
He has also promised female former rebels for a trip to Hong Kong.
“Now, he has ECLIP where additional benefits for surrenderees await. He has done extraordinary things just to end the almost 50 years war with the NPA terrorists to pave way for a lasting peace for the Philippines,” he said.
“Further, I urge other members of the NPA who long for their families left at home, now is the right time to return to them and experience a life away from hunger, fear and chaos,” the division commander added.