BUTUAN CITY – A total of 44 former communist-New People’s Army (NPA) rebels pledged to go back to normal lives and vowed to help the government’s peace and development program.
The former rebels made the assurance after they completed the De-radicalization Program for Former Rebels Batch 1-2022 at Camp Osito Bahian, in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon province on Monday, June 27.
The participants of the said training are mostly from the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon.
They were former members of Front Operational Command (FOC), Guerrilla Front ‘Malayag’ of the CPP-NPA North central Mindanao Regional Committee.
Some of them are political instructors, squad leaders as well as platoon medics, said 403nd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer Maj. Brandy B. Tangob in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin late Wednesday afternoon.
The De-radicalization program is the first part of the mainstreaming process for former rebels, the 403rd CMO officer said.
“These former NPAs will be admitted to the halfway house to be managed by the provincial government of Bukidnon and where they will undergo further trainings and capacity-building while waiting for the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) benefits that they will be receiving,” Maj. Tangob said.
The training also aims to assist former rebels go back to their old selves as law-abiding citizens of the community and as God-fearing individuals, the 403rd Brigade CMO officer said.
The 15-day training started on June 13 and ended on Monday afternoon (June 27).
During the training, participants were made to understand their respective roles as peace-building partners of the government to help achieve its peace and development goals.
Meanwhile, 403rd brigade commanding General Brig. Gen. Ferdinand T. Barandon commended these former rebels for returning back to the fold of the law.
“Our hearts are filled with gratitude knowing that you have finally returned home,” the happy 403rd Brigade commander said.
He said when the President signed E.O 70 in December 2018, he was emphatic to put an end to the, 52-year insurgency.
He also emphasized that the military cannot do it alone. It needs the help of the whole country that is why E.O. 70 implementation puts a premium on the “Whole of Nation” approach.