THE 60th Infantry Battalion (60th IB) noted a total of 42 members of the communist group who have voluntarily surrendered in the first semester of the year as a result of their continued effort to encourage more rebels to return to the folds of the law.
In a statement, the 60th IB stated that the number manifests the intensified programs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in collaboration with other government and non-government agencies to counter the insurgency problem in the region, prompting rebels to surrender and seek for a reformed life.
“This trend [of surrenders] allows us to assume two things: one is that our campaign to end the insurgency is effective, and two, our people and community have really learned to trust our government,” 60IB Commander Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Canilla said.
He said former NPA members surrendered either through the assistance of their local leaders or directly to the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The government already has an existing program that will cater to rebel returnees and help them have a renewed life under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (Clip) which is being jointly implemented by the Department of Interior Local Government (DILG), PNP and AFP and the respective provincial Social Welfare and Development Offices.
"This has been one of the key motivations for the NPAs’ surrender," Canilla said.
“The decision to leave their armed struggle is easier to come by since they are assured that there is a better future awaiting them here,” Canilla added.
From 2016 to present, over P3 million cash assistance has been released and almost P1 million worth of remuneration have been distributed for surrenderees who brought with them their firearms and explosives.
Meanwhile, three other rebels have surrendered to authorities earlier citing broken promises and disintegrating system of the movement that led them to lay down their arms and leave the ranks in the hinterland.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on June 24, 2017.
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