15 more NPA rebels yield in Masbate
By Connie Calipay and Mar Serrano / Philippine News Agency
LEGAZPI CITY – At least 15 New People’s Army (NPA) members operating in Masbate province surrendered on Tuesday to the Philippine Army's 2nd Infantry Battalion in Milagros town, an official of the 9th Infantry Division (9ID) said on Wednesday.
Capt. John Paul Belleza, 9ID Public Affairs Division (DPAO) chief, said eight of the surrenders were regular NPA guerillas while the rest were members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad, a group of mass base supporters.
The former rebels also surrendered their firearms including assault rifles, shotguns, and .38 and .357 caliber handguns.
Belleza said the latest surrender brought to 126 the communist rebels and supporters operating in Masbate who have decided to return to the fold of the law since the last quarter of 2020.
Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, 2IB battalion commander, in a statement, said the new surrenderers would undergo reintegration procedures and be enrolled in the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Under the E-CLIP, the former rebels will receive cash, livelihood, housing, medical and educational assistance, including remuneration for the firearms that they surrendered.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson, commander of Joint Task Force Bicolandia, said the continuously increasing number of communist terrorist group (CTG) members who are returning to the fold of the law is proof of the effective implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order 70 or the Whole-of-Nation Approach of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“Through our E-CLIP, we will ensure that you, our former rebels will be provided with cash, livelihood, housing, medical and even educational assistance in order for you to start anew as you take the path of peace…With these accomplishments, the 9ID and JTF Bicolandia is very positive that the CTG will eventually collapse in this island province in the soonest possible time,” he added.
The NPA, along with the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)