BUTUAN CITY – Thirty-one members of the New People’s Army (NPA) recently surrendered to the government in Surigao del Norte, the military reported on Wednesday.
According to 30th Infantry Battalion (30th IB) Civil Military Operations (CMO) Officer Second Lt. Benjamin Elisand De Dios, nine NPA regulars and 22 Milisya ng Bayan (MB) of Sandatahang Pampropaganda sa Platun 16-C (SPP 16-C) of Guerilla Front Committee 16 (GFC 16) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Party Committee (NEMRC) turned themselves in last Sunday, November 22, to the 30th IB’s Community Support Program (CSP) team.
Lasicam Complex is considered as one of the bastions of the Communist terrorist group, the 30th IB CMO officer said.
A formal surrender ceremony was held during the Grand Pulong-Pulong (GPP) that was presided by Gigaquit town Mayor Chandru T. Bonite, and attended by about 200 members of the Mamanwa tribe from the hinterlands of Lasicam Complex.
Bonite welcomed the surrenderers, and promised them the municipal government of Gigaquit will provide them support, and take every effort in seeking for them further assistance from other government agencies.
“Isip injo Mayor, Nalipay ko kay inyo gidawat ang programa sa atong gobyerno alang sa kalinaw. Manghinaut ko nga sugod karon, magtinabangay ta aron makab-ot nato ang atong gipangandoy nga kalinaw ug kalamboan dire sa Lasicam (Being your mayor, I am very glad that you truly accepted the program of the government towards attaining a lasting peace. Henceforth, let us help each other to achieve lasting peace and progress here in Lasicam),” said Bonite.
According to one of the surrenderers identified only as Jones, he was recruited in 2016, and expressed disappointment and frustration over the leadership of the NPA organization.
“Puro kabakakan, igo ra me sologoon sa suyod wla jud kaugmaon, nag ingon sila nga naay suporta nga ila ihatag sa amo pamilya pero suyod sa tuyo tulo ka tuig nako sa organisasyun, bisan sentimo wayay nadawat among pamilya (Nothing but all lies, we were used just like slaves inside, no future, they said they will support our family but for the past three years in the organization, not even a single centavo was given to our family),” alias Jones said.
Meanwhile, 30th IB commander Lt. Col. Ryan Charles G. Callanta told the rebel returnees that the government will help them in their new way of life.
“We will ensure that these surrenderers made the right decision, that they will avail of the E-CLIP benefits not only to help them start their new and peaceful lives but to show them how serious the government in its quest for peaceful reconciliation,” he said.