CABADBARAN CITY, July 29 – A total of 470 NPAs surrendered and subsequently took their oath of allegiance to the government in Agusan del Norte, from January to July of 2019.
The said group of surrenderees is composed of seven (7) regular NPA members who brought with them their firearms, 49 Militia ng Bayan (MB), 37 Sangay sa Partido Lokal (SPL) or Local Party Members and 347 Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members. The organizational structures and memberships were unearthed and identified through the continuous and persistent efforts of the different Community Support Teams (CSTs). The CSTs were deployed by 29th Infantry “Matatag” Battalion in various barangays in Anticala, Butuan City; Bangayan, Hinimbangan, and San Isidro of Kicharao; Bangonay and Baleguian of Jabonga; San Isidro and Poblacion 2 of Santiago and Doña Telesfora of Tubay, all of Agusan del Norte.
The said NPA members decided to go back to mainstream society to join their friends and families due to their frustration with the NPA, feeling of hopelessness about their situation while in the mountains, hunger, fatigue and unfulfilled promises from the NPA.
Currently, they are undergoing the deradicalization and reintegration process and shall receive benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.
Alias King, a former NPA regular member, chose to surrender and take an oath of allegiance to the government because he realized that they are just being used to fight for a wrong cause. He revealed, “Gikapoy na kug dagan ug tago sa bukid tungod sa maling prinsipyo at pagtuo ng mga NPA. Abe ko sa una sakto sila pero dili diay. Gusto na kug malinawun akung pagpuyo. Gustu na ku mag bag-o sa akung kinabuhi,” said alias King.
“Akong nasayran nga igo rako gigamit sa NPA para sa ilang kaugalingong katuyuan ( I realized that I am just being used by the NPA to pursue their own interests”) alias Alex, another surrenderee, stated.
Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, Commanding Officer of 29IB strongly encouraged the rebels to surrender in his statement, “I am once again calling the attention of all the rebels who are still in the hinterlands of Agusan del Norte, surrender now and lay down your firearms. There are many great opportunities that await you as you turn your back to the NPA and return to the fold of the law. Come and join the other surrenderees who already found their way back. I know it will not be easy, but we will help you together with all the peace and development stakeholders of this province who are under the able leadership of our 2nd District Representative Hon. Maria Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba, and Hon. Dale B. Corvera, Provincial Governor of Agusan del Norte .”