GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 4 Oct) – Two suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to government troops in South Cotabato province following a series of negotiations, an Army official said on Friday.
Lt. Col. Jones Otida, commander of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion, said the rebels yielded voluntarily along with their firearms last Tuesday in Tampakan town, South Cotabato.
He said the two were previously under the “Yunit Militia” of the NPA’s Sub-Regional Committee Alip-Far South Mindanao Region operating in the hinterlands of Tampakan and the neighboring municipalities.
The former rebels, whose identities were withheld for security reasons, surrendered a Carbine and Springfield rifle reportedly issued by the NPA unit, Otida said.
He said they will enroll the two into the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), which will provide them with livelihood assistance and other socio-economic interventions.
Otida attributed the surrender of the two rebels to the efforts of municipal and barangay officials in “ending local terrorist atrocities” in the area.
He specifically cited the implementation of Executive Order (EO) No. 70, which institutionalizes the “whole-of-nation” approach as a strategy to attain inclusive and sustainable peace in the country.
It paved the way for the creation of localized task forces “to end local communist armed conflict.”
The municipal government of Tampakan declared last month the NPA, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) as “persona non grata.”
“The implementation of EO 70, along with the military efforts, was certainly effective,” Otida said in a report.
The Army official appealed to other leaders, members and supporters of the NPA, CPP and NDF in the area to also surrender and avail of the E-CLIP.
He urged them to “return to the fold of the law to attain genuine peace in local communities that everybody longs for.”
“Let us not stop supporting and joining campaigns against the CPP-NPA terrorist, giving them more pressure to weaken their efforts for us to achieve the peace in our community,” he added. (MindaNews)