By Joseph Jubelag
MAGPET, North Cotabato – Three hundred 300 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels recently surrendered to the military in North Cotabato and will avail of the benefits under the government’s peace and reconciliation program.
Lt.Col. Ehrlich Noel Paraso, 9th Infantry Battalion commander, said the NPA surrenderees are former full-time members of the NPA’s Milisyang Bayan unit operating in barangays Bangkal and Kinarum in Magpet.
The former rebels also turned over 20 firearms and ammunition.
Paraso said the former NPA members opted to abandon the armed struggle as 19th IB troops intensified community immersion program in the villages that used to be controlled by the NPA.
Major Aristotle Antonio of the provincial government’s ‘Task Force Balik Loob’ said the former NPA rebels will be enlisted in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and will be given cash and livelihood assistance as they return to mainstream society.
Jonnavey Juan, representative of the Davao City-based Endonela Institute of Technology Foundation Incorporated (EITFI) said their school in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is willing to provide skills development training to the surrenderees.