Bukidnon LGU, 4ID facilitate social reintegration of 30 ex-rebels

By Philippine News Agency

WELCOME BACK. Officials of the Bukidnon provincial government and the 4th Infantry Division welcome former rebels in a ceremony at Camp Osito D. Bahian, Malaybalay on Tuesday (Oct. 12, 2021). The FRs were each given PHP25,000, a hygiene kit, a sack of rice, a carton of food packs, and were promised houses. (Photo courtesy of 4ID)

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The provincial government of Bukidnon and the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division officially welcomed 30 former rebels (FRs), who used to be members and leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front.


They were subsequently reunited with their respective families during the 403rd Infantry Brigade’s press conference at Camp Osito D. Bahian, Malaybalay, Bukidnon on Oct. 12.


The FRs, who surrendered to the 8th Infantry Battalion, 88th Infantry Battalion, and 43rd Military Intelligence Company (43MICO), are under the operational control of the 403rd Brigade. They were presented to Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. as a symbolic acceptance for their official reintegration into the mainstream society and live peacefully in the province.


Also in attendance during the activity were Maj. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., Commander of 4ID; Brig. Gen. Ferdinand T. Barandon, Commander of 403rd Brigade, Raymund D. Lopez, Assistant Regional Director of National Intelligence Coordinating Agency 10 (NICA-10); Police Lt. Col. Daryl Aramton, Police Provincial Office of Bukidnon; Charmaigne Tadlas, Capability and Development Officer of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 10; and 403rd Bde’s Deputy Brigade Commander, Col. Jose Arn M. Real; together with the Battalion Commanders of 8IB, 88IB, and 1st Special Forces Battalion.


Barandon said the FRs, who are all from Bukidnon, surrendered out of fear for their lives and brought along different calibers of 22 high-powered firearms and three low-powered firearms.


“Six high-value individuals were among the surrenderers who led their members to give up the armed struggle as they realized the sincerity of the government. The CTG (communist terrorist groups) have led them to extreme exhaustion all while running from the relentless military operations of the government troops. As such, we welcome them with open arms and commitment as we guide and assist them in peacefully transitioning into the mainstream society," Barandon said.


Meanwhile, Zubiri pledged to build 200 houses for the FRs in Bukidnon, including the 30 FRs, and vowed to provide better opportunities for them and continue to inspire remaining CTG members to surrender.


Ang akong kalipay [karong adlawa] murag dili matupungan. Nalipay ko kay ania mo karon galingkod ug naghulat nga makadawat kamo sa gamay na hinabang gikan kanamo tungod sa inyung desisyon sa pag-surender kay tutal usa raman tang tanan, Pilipino man tang tanan. Kitang Pilipino dili ta mag away away pa (My joy [today] cannot be measured. I am happy seeing each of you here today waiting to receive our simple assistance due to your decision to surrender. After all, we should not fight against each other and instead be united as one since we are all Filipinos.),: Zubiri said.


“Kung naa pa kamoy mga amigo sa bukid, palihug hangyoa sila. Magsurender na kamo, igarantiya ko kamo sa inyung pagsureder sama sa nagsurender diri. Dawata ang akong kinasing-kasing na pagpasalamat. Isip usa ka amahan sa probinsya sa Bukidnon, ginadawat ko kamo isip akung mga anak. Manaog na sila arun malipay ilang pamuhi, ilang asawa, ilang mga anak ug arun matipon sila (Encourage your former comrades to surrender. I will guarantee their peaceful and proper surrender the same as that with the FRs who surrendered here. Accept my heartfelt gratitude, as the father here in the province of Bukidnon, I accept you as my children. Retreat from the mountains in order to have a happy life with your wives and children and so that you will all be reunited)," he added.


The FRs were given PHP25,000 each by the provincial government of Bukidnon, a hygiene kit, a sack of rice, and a carton of food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Northern Mindanao (DSWD-10).


Zubiri also pledged an additional PHP25,000 for each of the 30 FRs as financial assistance of the provincial government of Bukidnon.


Since 2016, a total of 1,419 FRs have already received financial assistance package and other benefits from different government agencies under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in the 4ID’s areas of responsibility (AOR).


In the 403rd Brigade AOR alone, 548 FRs already received their E-CLIP benefits while 361 will soon receive theirs.


In a statement, Brawner thanked the FRs for voluntarily returning to peaceful lives and reuniting with their families.


He highlighted the recovery of more than 1,000 sticks of dynamites that can be used to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A surrenderer provided information leading to the seizure.


He commended the Brigade Commander of the 403rd Brigade and its Battalion Commanders as prime movers for the successful surrender of the CTG. He also reiterated his offer to the CTG to surrender or “magbalik-loob sa mapayapang pamumuhay” or face the consequences.


“We will continue our campaign against the CPP-NPA-NDF but more than the combat accomplishment, this act of yielding to the government is more important because we are all Filipinos and we do not want to kill each other. Your soldiers are committed to respecting Human Rights and adhering to the International Humanitarian Law particularly in confronting the CTG,” Brawner added.


“The FRs can return now to their normal lives and do not need to fight the government anymore. Different agencies are present to give the FRs the benefits deserved. The EO70 that created the Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict is very much alive”," he said.


The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.


The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (4ID PR)

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