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Rifles, guns owned by NPAs recovered

Four high-powered firearms and two low-powered firearms of the New People’s Army were recovered by soldiers of the 89th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Kalinawan, Barangay Kibongkog, San Fernando, Bukidnon last week.

Lt Col. Silas Trasmontero, the 89th IB commander, said the troops recovered the arms cache on the information given by the former rebels.

Trasmontero identified the surrenderees as Ellezer Alquiza Gonzaga alias Dodong, commanding officer of the Basil Platoon, Guerilla Front 55, followed by the surrender of seven members under his leadership last Dec. 23 and 29.

They surrendered after the military dismantled the Komiteng Rebolusyonaryo sa Munisipalidad operating in four barangays in San Fernando and three barangays in Kitaotao, all in Bukidnon.

“The unit had initiated a new negotiating team composed of barangay officials, tribal leaders, close friends and relatives of NPA regular members and intelligence operatives who are tasked to engage the families of the active members of GF55 to facilitate the surrender of remaining Communist terrorist group members,” he added.

“It also shows a clear manifestation that the community no longer supports the NPA in the area for they wanted to attain a peaceful and progressive community,” he further added.

Meanwhile, 15 former rebels underwent ideological reorientation conducted by the 89th Infantry Battalion at its headquarters in Barangay New Visayas, Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte from Jan. 13 to 17, 2020.

Lt. Col. Silas Trasmontero, the commander of the 89th Infantry Battalion, said some of them were members of Militia ng Bayan in Paquibato District, the majority are from Bukidnon, who surrendered last December.

“The other eight returnees also surrendered a few months ago,” Trasmontero said.

The former members of Guerilla Front 55 of the New People’s Army benefited from the program to help ease the transition into mainstream society.

“They must be geared with proper understanding of what the government has been doing, its aspirations and programs designed to benefit its people,” he added.

For now, he also said the former rebels have already returned to their community in Bukidnon while their application for job is ongoing. The others remained in the headquarters for security reasons.

The flagship program of the government is the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to help the surrenderees start a new life.

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