PANGASINAN – A total of 301 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels from Northern and Central Luzon have surrendered to the military since January.
This was disclosed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) on Saturday as it also said 93 assorted firearms were also turned over to government forces in the series of mass surrenders this year.
NOLCOM Chief Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said the unprecedented figures recorded in counter-insurgency efforts were tangible proof that “it is just a matter of time before NPA terrorism is totally eradicated in this part of the country”.
He added that soldiers were closely working hand-in-hand with the different local government units (LGUs) and government agencies to serve the people better under the banner of good governance.
Burgos also assured the public that “NOLCOM will remain steadfast in living up to its sworn mandate as defenders of the north, guardians of sovereignty and protectors of the Filipino people”.
Since the implementation of Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program E-CLIP in 2016, around 735 former rebels have already received more than P24 million in government assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), according to NOLCOM .
“Three hundred eighty-eight of these former rebels were NPA regulars while the remaining 48 percent were local militia who were coerced to support the underground movement by threatening their safety, as well as that of their families”, said Burgos.
Under E-CLIP, qualified former rebels could avail of up to P700,000 worth of government grants which they can use to start living peaceful lives after turning their back from the underground movement.
The most recent surrender, which was facilitated by the military, was on October 30 when a 17-year-old minor and two other ranking NPAs belonging to the main fighting unit of the communist’s Cagayan Valley Regional Party Committee surfaced in Isabela after a series of localized peace engagements. They brought with them a rifle and a pistol.