CAMP PERALTA, Jamindan, Capiz – Unbearable starvation and hardships within the armed movement forced two (2) NPA members in Iloilo to surrender to Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion on July 19, 2019.

LTC Joel Benedict Batara, Commanding Officer, 61IB identified the surrenderees as alias Aguila, 51, Team Leader of CPP-NPA’s Special Partisan Unit (SPARU), Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay, and alias Baby, 33, Political Guide and Medical Officer of Squad 2, Suyak Platoon, Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon -Panay.

Alias Aguila from Calinog, Iloilo yielded with Colt Rifle with serial number 9014574; one (1) cap magazine of 5.56 mm; five (5) rounds live ammunitions of 5.56mm, and one (1) vintage rifle with ten (10) rounds of 7.62 ammunitions while alias Baby of Tubungan, Iloilo surrendered along with US Springfield 30 caliber rifle; eighteen (18) rounds live ammunitions of 30 caliber; one (1) 38 caliber pistol; six (6) rounds live ammunitions; three (3) rounds empty shell of 40mm, and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

In an interview, Aguila and Baby can’t contain their emotions while recalling their horrible experiences inside the armed movement. “Grabe nga gutom kag kakapoy ang amon naagyan sa sulod. Daw wala katapusan nga pag-antus” (We experienced extreme hunger and fatigue inside the movement. It seems like it was a never ending suffering).

The surrender of the two has brought to a total of 137 number of NPA members in Panay Island that have returned to the mainstream society since the implementation of Enhanced – Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in 2016. Of the said figure, 21 surrendered in 2016; 3 in 2017; 66 in 2018; and 47 in 2019.

LTC Batara stressed “The two did the right decision for armed struggle will bring nothing but suffering and death not only to them but also to their families. Imagine, kung may mga anak ka na matagal ka nang hinihintay at hindi nakikita pero nung bumalik ka isa ka nang malamig na bangkay. Tama lang na nagbalik-loob sila dahil ito na ang pangalawa nilang pagkakataon upang matutukan ang kanilang pamilya at mamuhay ng mapayapa.”

Under E-CLIP, both Aguila and Baby will receive P15, 000 Immediate Assistance; P50, 000.00 Livelihood Assistance and Firearm Remunerations for their surrendered firearms.

The immediate and Livelihood Assistance are component benefits of the E-CLIP which provides a complete package of assistance to former rebels. Immediate Assistance is for the mobilization expenses of the FRs while his/her enrolment in the program is being processed while the Livelihood Assistance is a support for sustenance.

The other benefits of the E-CLIP that the surrenderees can also avail includes; Reintegration assistance, Half-way house assistance, Philhealth enrolment and medical assistance, Education assistance, Housing assistance, Modified Conditional Cash Transfer, Legal assistance, and Healing and reconciliation initiatives.

MGen Dinoh Dolina, Commander of the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division called on the remaining members of the CPP-NPA Terrorist who are experiencing the same hardship to surrender. “Joining the CPP-NPA Terrorist is like digging your own grave; it will only bring misery and poverty to your family. Your government is giving you a chance to free yourselves from the bondage of deception and violence. Come down just like what Aguila and Baby did and avail the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program for you to start a new and normal life.