2 NPA members in Sagada surrender with weapons, ammo

BAGUIO CITY— Two more members of the New People’s Army (NPA) have surrendered to the security forces in Sagada, Mountain Province, turning over to authorities firearms and ammunition, a military official said on Tuesday.

“This is a clear manifestation that our strong collaboration with our stakeholders and the PNP is effective in our campaign to save our lost brothers by sending messages of peace through the programs of our government, thus, their continuous surrender is indicative of the CNTs’ [Communist of the Philippines- New People’s Army Terrorists] dwindling strength,” said Brig. Gen. Henry Doyaoen, commander of the 503rd Infantry Brigade (503Bde) in a text message.

The surrenderers were identified as alias “Jet”, 40, and a member of Squad 1, Kilusang Larangan Guerilla Marco, together with alias “Tubay”, 47, a full-time Militia ng Bayan (MB) working with Kilusang Larangan Gerilya Marco.

Doyaoen said the two rebels surrendered to government forces on Sunday in Sagada, Mountain Province after seeing other NPA combatants and supporters laying down their arms and embracing the government for a better and peaceful life aside from the assistance that the government would provide the surrenderers.

The two also turned over to authorities two M-16 rifles with live ammunition and a magazine.

Maj. Noriel Tayaban, 5IB information officer, said the two decided to surrender because being with the NPA only gave them misery, losing the chance to be with their family and loved ones.

He said the two are currently undergoing a joint validation by the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) and the Philippine National Police and the issuance of the certification will begin the processing of their benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

The firearms they surrendered will also be paid based on the firearms remuneration program of the E-CLIP.

Orientation and custodial debriefing will also be given to them.

They will also be provided skills training by the government to equip them with the knowledge and be able to continue a life of peace.

In an earlier interview, Maj. Gen. Pablo Lorenzo, commander of 5ID, said the government is sincere in its effort to end the decades-long armed conflict.

President Duterte has issued Executive Order (EO) 70 which mandates all government agencies to collaborate to come up with programs and projects to encourage those NPA rebels to return to the fold of the law and receive services and support to make their lives better.

Lorenzo said the government is willing to provide the NPA surrenderers with better lives through programs, assistance, and benefits.

“I urge the remaining CNTs in the 5ID area of responsibility to follow the footstep of those who surrendered. We cannot bring peace and development to our communities if you continue to connive with the enemies of the state. It is not yet late to embrace the opportunities offered to you by our government,” Lorenzo said.  Liza Agoot / PNA – northboundasia.com