ILIGAN CITY (PIA)-Three disgruntled fighters of the New People’s Army are now looking forward to peaceful lives after they voluntarily surrendered to the 4th Mechanized Infantry (Kalasag) Battalion on Sunday, August 1.
They also handed over their firearms and other war materials which included two M16A1 rifles, one Caliber 38 pistol revolver, and two rifle grenades.
“Nag-anhi mi sa sabakan sa gobyerno para mauban namo ang among pamilya sa among panginabuhian kay lisod ang NPA, dili lalim. Mismo ang among pagkaon gipangayo lang sa masa,” said Francisco, one of the surrenderees.
[We return to the government fold so that our family can join us in our livelihood because being in the NPA is hard, it’s not easy. Even our food was just demanded from the masses.]
The local guerrilla leader said the continuous hardships, hunger, exhaustion, and unfulfilled promises of the communist armed movement have prompted them to voluntarily surrender.
Lt Colonel Rommel M. Pereña, commanding officer of the Battalion, said the surrenderees were members of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon DOVE of Guerilla Front 88.
The voluntary surrender, he said, was made possible with the collaborative efforts between the military and local government unit in line with the government’s whole-of-nation approach.
“Ito ay isang hudyat ng tagumpay ng mga hakbangin tungo sa malawakang usaping pangkapayapaan at malinaw ito na mensahe na ang programa ng gobyerno ay nakaabot sa ating mga kapatid na nalinlang sa armadong pakikibaka ng mga terorista gamit ang kanilang maling idelohiya,” he said.
[This is a signal of the success of initiatives towards the broader peace process and this is a clear message that the government program has reached our brothers and sisters who have been deceived by the armed struggle of terrorists using their false ideology.]
The city government through the City Social Welfare and Development Office provided the former rebels with family food packs and sacks of rice during the former rebels’ symbolic turnover of firearms on Monday, August 2.
Concerned government agencies will also be conducting further assessments to determine the interventions to be provided to them.
The surrenderees are now temporarily housed at the Kalasag Battalion headquarters while their benefits under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program are being processed. (APB/PIA-ICIC)