CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – Four days after the death of a notorious terrorist leader, three NPAs surrendered high-powered firearms to government forces at Quezon Province’s town of Lucban on Monday.
This raised to four the number of terrorists from the province who returned to the folds of law since Dec 1 including the NPA regular from San Francisco town.
According to Col Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the 1st and 2nd Districts of Quezon, the “three who surrendered to the 1st Infantry Battalion in Lucban turned over an M16 rifle and a 40mm Grenade Launcher and are all listed in our Periodic Status Report.”
PSR is a military document which contains the names of identified NPA terrorists including their position, membership and areas where they operate.
He added that “one of them is a squad leader of the Main Regional Guerilla Unit’s Platoon Tres who went down with his vice squad leader taking along with them a member of KLG Cesar’s Platoon 4A1.”
Similarly, an NPA regular turned his back from the underground movement after turning himself over to the elements of 85th Infantry Battalion stationed at Gumaca, Quezon since the beginning of the month.
Col Norwyn Romeo Tolentino, Commander of the 201st Infantry Brigade which covers the 3rd and 4th Districts of the province, said that “the outpouring of surrenders of NPA regulars is a tangible proof that the government is winning the war against insurgency because of the sincere and dedicated efforts of the entire government echelon to deliver services and ensure sustainable growth in the countryside.”
He added that the series of surrenders can be directly attributed to the effectiveness and efficiency of the Task Forces at the National, Regional and Provincial levels to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in implementing President Duterte’s call for a whole of nation approach in addressing the different issues prevailing in our society.
The names of the surrenders are being withheld pending the relocation of their families to ensure their security from the NPA’s possible acts of reprisal.
Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said that aside from the proactive actions of RTF ELCAC in addressing the root causes of insurgency, the series of surrenders was triggered by the neutralization of top NPA leaders in the area.
“Per their testimonies, the fall of their prominent and notorious leaders brought damaging psychological impact upon their ranks which made them doubt the safety of the jungles and fear the loyalty of their so-called mass base” after learning that information which led to their neutralization came from within the underground organization, said MGen Burgos.
He congratulated the former rebels “for choosing their families over the terrorists, for choosing peace over conflict and for choosing to become productive members of society rather than being part of the problem.”
The military has expressed optimism that they, together with the different agencies and LGUs in Region 4A, will be able to deal the enemies of the state the decisive blows to once and for all defeat insurgency in Southern Tagalog.
MGen Burgos ended his statement by calling on the few remaining NPA terrorists “to lay down their arms, enjoy the benefits provided under the government’s E-CLIP and live peaceful lives with their families” while reaffirming his soldiers’ “commitment to serve the Filipino people and ensure their security at all times so that they may enjoy their families’ company, particularly this coming holiday season.”
Since the E-CLIP’s implementation last year, 69 out of 162 former rebels have already availed P 4.485 million worth of financial assistance and other benefits from the program while 95 are on process and will be presented in separate event after the processing of documents, something which known left-leaning groups and personalities have blatantly opposed because such undertaking led to unprecedented number of surrenders from the region.
The former rebels will undergo reintegration protocols such as medical check up and custodial debriefing among others prior their enrollment to E-CLIP.