By Mike U. Crismundo and Bonita L. Ermac
Iligan City — A total of 142 communist-terrorist fighters, among them a vice commander of the New People’s Army (NPA), surrendered to local authorities this week in the provinces of Bukidnon and Compostela Valley, the military reported yesterday.
Captain Jerry S. Lamosao, regional spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID), said among the surrenderers were an NPA vice commander and three regular fighters from the Sandatahang Yunit Propaganda-Guerrilla Front Committee 27 (SYP-GFC 27) of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).
Lamosao said the four, along with 10 other members of its Solid Mass Organization (SMO), gave themselves up to the command group of Lt. Col. Esteyven E. Ducusin of the army’s 71st Infantry (Kaibigan” Battalion (71IB) in Purok 8, Barangay Nueva Visayas, Mawab, Compostela Valley.
“They yielded at 3 o’clock in the afternoon last Saturday where their families and relatives along with some local officials also witnessed during brief surrender rites,” added Lamosao.
Meanwhile, 35 Militia ng Bayan (MNB)members, and 93 Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA (CPP-NPA) mass base supporters or members of the Underground Mass Organizations also surrendered in Northern Mindanao through the efforts of the 403rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade (403 IB) of the army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID).
Mayor Jose Antonio A. Villo of Sumilao, Bukidnon, officiated the oath of allegiance to the government of the 128 communist-terrorists who returned to the fold of the law.
During the ceremony attended by Brigadier General Eric C. Vidoya, 403IB commander, they also surrendered 34 assorted firearms and one improvised explosive device (IED).
Speaking at the activity, dubbed “Kagsabuwa Para Hu Kalinaw” (Unity for Peace), Vidoya said: “This very significant moment is a great contributory factor in our bid to finally attain peace in our communities here in Bukidnon.”
Brig. Gen. Reuben James Basiao, 701st Infantry Brigade commander, said all rebel-returnees will undergo integration procedures, part of which is a program called “Happy Home” which would last up to four months.
The process starts with a 10-day political deradicalization which takes place shortly after their surrender and is quickly followed by psycho-social counseling, skills training by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and livelihood assistance programs.
Last Wednesday night, President Duterte hit CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison before 215 former CPP-NPA rebels he invited for dinner at Malacañang.
Duterte criticized Sison, his former professor, saying the CPP founder thinks he owns the government and wants to be President.
“Sison is dreaming of his own government. He wants to replace me,” Duterte said in Bisaya, his native tongue.
The President also teased his former professor by saying that Sison looks more like a Taiwanese than a Filipino.
Then, he addressed the rebel-returnees, asking them: “Give me one reason why you’d die for Sison.”
Miffed at Sison’s recent order to the NPA to kill one uniformed personnel (police or soldier) a day, the President said that for every slain soldier or policeman, the military will retaliate by killing five NPA fighters. (With reports from Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos and PNA)