CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur- Twenty six members and a supporter of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) surrendered to the government in Masbate province, Tuesday, September 22. They firmly denounced communist terrorism in front of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) members and the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) committee.
Of the mass surrenderees, 15 were regular communist NPA terrorists (CNTs), 9 were Militiang Bayan (MB), 2 were part of Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL) and 1 supporter.
Surrendered by these individuals were four high powered firearms and 28 low powered firearms.
With this, E-CLIP committee can now fast track the payment of firearms renumeration to those who surrendered firearms and expedite the delivery of benefits intended for the now considered former rebels (FRs).
Jimmy, a regular CTG member who was captured in one of the armed encounters in Masbate, thanked God and the security forces for giving him another chance to live a much peaceful life.
“Ako po ay isang captured o huli ng mga militar. Pero doon ko po nakita ang pagpapahalaga sa bayan na hindi pala solusyon ang giyera kundi po sa isang magandang usapan,” Jimmy said.
Gov. Antonio Kho, Chairman of PTF-ELCAC recognized the Army and the PNP especially the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) under LTC Siegfried Felipe Awichen which covers the entire province of Masbate for its exemplary performance resulting in the continuous surrender of CTG members.
“So, we do our best so that there will be a continuance [of surrender] because this is the only catalyst or the ultimate solution for the everlasting peace not only in the province but in the entire country,” Gov. Kho added.
Meanwhile, MGEN HENRY A ROBINSON JR PA, Commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia congratulated the PTF-ELCAC for gathering this large number of surrenderees with their surrendered firearms stressing that indeed, pure combat solutions will not solve the armed struggle.
“Sa mga kasama natin dito ngayon, nagpapasalamat ako at kayo ay nagbalik-loob na sa gobyerno at nagdesisyong itakwil ang maling ideolohiya na itinuro sa inyo. Ngayong andito na kayo, sa pamamagitan ng E-CLIP mabibigyan kayo ng iba’t-ibang tulong, kaalaman, at kasanayan na inyong magagamit sa pagbabagong buhay. Ito ay tulong ng pamahalaan hindi lamang sa inyo kundi pati na rin sa inyong pamilya at komunidad,” MGen. Robinson said.
MGen. Robinson also underscored that this development is the result of decisive joint operations of the Army and PNP, effective implementation of the Modified Community Support Program as well as the intensified efforts of PTF-ELCAC coupled with the cooperation of the Masbateños to the anti-insurgency campaigns of the government.
Also present during the event were LTGEN ANTONIO G PARLADE JR, Commander of Southern Luzon Command and PBGEN Bartolome Bustamante, Regional Director of Police Regional Office V.
In his message, LTGEN PARLADE emphasized that with consistent convergence of efforts, insurgency can be resolved in one-year time and highlighted how serious the government is in helping the former rebels to live a better life.
“Hindi po pwede ‘yong ‘tokenism’. Pag sinabi nating programa ng gobyerno, totoo yan at may kasunod yan. Hindi pwedeng one-time bigtime. Hindi po pwede ‘yong ganun. Wala pong iwanan,” Lt. Gen. Parlade added.
PBGEN Bustamante on the other hand seconded MGen. Robinson by saying, “We recognize that the pursuit of peace and to a larger scope the creation of a better society can only be achieved when all relevant sectors come together to pool their resources into one great effort.”