By Ivy Tejano
DAVAO CITY – Six members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and nine members of the Militia ng Bayan under the Communist group surrendered to government authorities on February 3 in Lapaz town, Agusan del Sur, the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) reported.
Eastmincom Public Information Officer Major Ezra Balagtey said the 15 rebels surrendered after one of them approached Lapaz municipal and military officials during a Pulong-Pulong (assembly) in Barangay Kasapa 2 around 9 a.m., informing them that they intend to lay-down their arms.
Army 1001st Infantry Brigade Deputy Commander Colonel Glenn Jun Calambuhat and 60th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer Lt. Colonel Ronaldo Sarmiento witnessed the surrender of the NPA rebels who also turned over 10 homemade rifles, a shot gun and six pistols, Balagtey said.
Army 1001st Infantry Brigade Commander Colonel John Oberio, meanwhile, said the rebel returnees will be processed and eventually, receive the cash benefits under Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.
Oberio said a skills enhancement and livelihood program from government agencies will also be provided to the rebel returnees in the implementation of the Executive Order No. 70 or utilizing the whole of government and whole of nation approach to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC).