By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – More Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) laid down their arms and availed if the government livelihood program and pledged to support its peace and development program, regional Army spokesperson 1Lt. Tere Ingente told The Manila Bulletin on Tuesday.
The chief of Public Affairs Officer of the Army’s 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID) cited the surrender of two armed CNTs to the 8th Infantry (Dependable) Battallion (8th IB) on Friday (July 13) in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon province.
The surrenderees (where names were withheld), both 20 years of age, were former members of Squad 3 PEDLER, Sub-Regional Committee 2 (SRC2) and Squad 1, Platoon JADE, Sandatahang Platun Pampropaganda 3 (SPP3) TOTO, Guerilla Front Committee 4-B (GFC 4-B) of the CPP-NPA North central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC), 1Lt. Ingente said.
They surrendered one US Springfield Rifle and one Carbine Rifle with live ammunitions.
It can be recalled that 118 CPP-NPA supporters and Milisyang Bayan (MB) members pledged support to the government through the joint effort of the local government of Impasugong and 8th IB’s Community Support Program (CSP) team in Barangay Bulonay, also of Impasugong town of that same province on July 5, 2018.
“It is never too late for the victims of the CPP-NPA ideology to see the truth behind the lies. The government had laid down plans and programs to help communities and there is no need for them to join any armed struggle,” said Lt. Col. Ronald Illana, commanding officer of the 8th IB.
“Rest assured that your Dependable Battalion will be there every step of the way to help the people and the local government of Bukidnon,” the 8th IB commander added.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commanding general of the 403rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade, appreciated the decision of the two former CNTs to embrace peace and return to the folds of the law.
“I am glad that the two former CNTs, who were deceived by the NPA terrorist leadership, finally made-up their minds to return to the mainstream society, embrace peace, and be with their families again. You have made the right decision. The surrender of these two victims of deception and lies of the CPP-NPA only proves that this terrorist organization is continuously violating the International
Humanitarian Law by forcing civilians to become part of hostilities. We condemn such acts,” Brig. Gen. Vinoya said, in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin.
Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) is the government’s program for former rebels where surrenderees will receive assistance from the different government agencies to help in his or her reintegration into the society, he added.
“I urge other members of the NPA who longed for their families left at home, now is the right time to return to them and experience a life away from hunger, fear and chaos.” Maj. Gen. Ronald C. Villanueva, commanding general of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th ID said.