Ex-Reds informed gov't forces of 26 NPA arms caches: Mapagu
By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency
Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) chair, Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu (File photo)
MANILA – Information provided by former New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas led to the recovery of arms caches of communist terrorist groups, an official of the Department of National Defense (DND) said.
"Twenty-six arms caches of the NPA (New People's Army) were revealed by former rebels. And these revelations led to the recovery of 144 assault firearms, such as M-60 multi-purpose machine guns, .30 (caliber machine guns), AK-47 rifles, mortars, M-16 rifles, as well as grenade launchers and pistols," Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) chair, Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu, said during the "Tagged: Debunking Lies By Telling the Truth" virtual presser on Monday.
This year alone, Mapagu said, disclosures made by former rebels led to the recovery of 15 assorted anti-personnel mines (APMs), including materials for making explosives.
"And these are banned under the international humanitarian law for these explosives do not distinguish between civilians and combatants similar to the death of Kieth Absalon in Masbate just recently," he added.
Mapagu also reported that Task Force Balik Loob has so far received 2,061 firearms from surrendered former rebels and that these weapons would be compensated under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) created by virtue of Administrative Order 10, series of 2018, issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on April 3, 2018.
The money given in exchange for these firearms will serve as additional start-up capital for the livelihood program for rebel returnees.
The E-CLIP is a government program that aims to help reintegrate former rebels back to the community, be with their families, and start over with new and normal lives.
"And as part of assisting former rebels, a total 6,418 individuals, former rebels have been assisted by the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) amounting to PHP485,500,000 so far," Mapagu said.
The assistance extended by the DILG to rebel returnees includes PHP15,000 worth of immediate assistance, livelihood assistance worth PHP50,000, reintegration assistance worth PHP21,000, and firearms remuneration, the valuation of which depends on the type and serviceability of the surrendered firearms.
"On the part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, we have recorded a total of 623 former rebels that have joined the AFP. And this includes 66 former rebels that have already enlisted in the regular force, while 557 were enlisted as part of the CAFGU (Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit). Worth mentioning here is Pfc. or Private First Class Albert Diaz, a former political instructor of the NPA's GF or Guerilla Front 33 operating in Davao de Oro who graduated as the top or the Number One in his Candidate Soldier Course last 2019, and this is from the 10th Infantry Division," Mapagu said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines - NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)