Army: Rebels-turned soldiers reunited with former comrades

BISLIG CITY, Surigao del Sur- Camp Jaime N Ferrer Sr, BrgyMaharlika,
Bislig City (Stn) – Former members of the Communist- Terrorist CPP-NPA who are now soldiers of the Philippine Army were reunited with their former comrades- this time inside a military headquarters, in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.

Lt. Col. Jaime R Datuin, Commander of the Army’s 75th Infantry Battalion said a number of former rebels who surrendered in the past volunteered to join the Army. They were able to hurdle rigorous 6-month training and are now enlisted as members of the regular force. They now compose what the Army calls the Integrated Territorial Defense System or ITDS unit. They help in securing communities against lawless and terrorist groups such as the NPA, and provide humanitarian assistance in case of disasters or disasters.

Private Rodney Veras Zamora, a former rebel who is now a member of
75th IB said he was elated to see his former comrade again. He lauded him for choosing the right decision rather than continue being deceived by the terrorists. Another commented that this is the best time to surrender now the government is serious in its campaign to end the localcommunist armed conflict. “Baka patay na ako kung hindi pa ako bumaba at sumuko”, he mused.

Datuin lauded the former terrorists for choosing to live a peaceful life rather than continue being members of the CPP-NPA. “Their decision to go back to the mainstream society only manifests that they also want to live normal lives with their families. Now, we can start rebuilding our communities”, he added.

Col. Allan Hambala, 401st Brigade Commander commended the battalion for its contributions to the peace and development efforts of the Philippine Army. He also assured the former rebels of the government’s continued support to help them return to the mainstream society through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration
Program (E-CLIP).