Mawab, Davao de Oro –  Tired and weary, 4 members of the Weakened Guerilla Front 2 (WGF2) of the New People’s Army (NPA) submitted themselves to the authority last Saturday, May 16, 2020. After the custodial debriefing, they went home and reunited with their respective families.

Alias James and Alias Wena are live-in partner in Barangay Panoraon while Alias Dondon and Alias Popo are biological brothers living in Barangay Sangab, Maco, Davao de Oro. After years of suffering in the NPA, Wena finally got back with her four kids and was able to throw a simple birthday celebration to her son with the help and generosity of the 71st Infantry KAIBIGAN Battalion (71IB). Soldiers accompanied her to celebrate her son’s birthday. She was very thankful to the 71IB for she never had a chance to give the same treat to her son when she was still in the NPA. “Daghan kaayong salamat 71IB nga gihatagan mi og cake para sa among birthday boy,’’ she said in her language, as she expressed her gratitude for the cake given by 71IB for her birthday celebrant. Along with the cake, the 71IB also gave spaghetti and bread.

Moreover, Alias James and Alias Wena were both recruited by alias Roy/Nante, a top leader of WGF2. They both served in the NPA for almost 2 years and clashed with 71IB troops for several occasions. One of which was the armed encounter in Sitio Dasuran, Brgy Golden Valley, Mabini where @ Renz,  got wounded.

On the other hand, Alias Dondon and Alias Popo were “tacked-in” members of the NPA when they were recruited by Alias Marus, another NPA leader. Later, they were designated as Milisya ng Bayan (MB), the local armed peasant, in Barangay Sangab, Maco Davao de Oro where they were involved in the harassment of detachment in Brgy Anitapan sometime in 2001 that wounded @ Lando, their former leader.

All these former NPA members sought the help of their local officials for them to return to the folds of the law. Truly, local officials play a significant role in facilitating the surrender of rebels who wish to go back to their normal lives. LTC SONNY GONZALES was thankful to the provincial, municipal and barangay officials who lend a hand to facilitate the surrender of the said personalities. “Truly, the EO 70 which institutionalizes the whole of government approach to end local armed conflict is the answer to finally attain the genuine and sustainable peace. With the help of the local officials and populace, I am confident we can put an end to the insurgency in our area of operation”, he concluded. The 71IB continues to welcome NPA members who will lay down their arms and surrender, and facilitate their claims for Enhanced Comprehensive and Local Integration Program or E-CLIP which offers cash and livelihood assistance to former rebels.