CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Like a gift for Independence Day, the provincial government here headed by Governor Lilia Pineda welcomed the return to the fold of mainstream society four members of the New People’s Army (NPA) allegedly operating in the western part of Pampanga.

Governor Lilia Pineda said with the genuine concern of the provincial government to the plight of Kapampangans especially to Aetas in the mountainous part of the province, the NPA rebels had decided to lay down their arms and trust their provincial government as the communities’ partner and agent in their quest for genuine change and development.

Pampanga Police Provincial Director Rodolfo Recomono, Jr., identified the rebel returnees as Western Pampanga commander Eduardo Abuque, Rannie Vital, Omer Trajano, and Lanlan Serrano.

According to Recomono, the surrender of the rebel returnees was coordinated with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office headed by Elizabeth Baybayan.

Recomono added that commander Abuque faces 10 arrest warrants and is now under the custody of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) led by PSUPT Bernardo Perez.

Abuque is allegedly behind the death of high ranking officials from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Air force and Armed forces of the Philippines.

Abuque cited the difficulties living in the mountains as the reason of their surrender.

“Mahirap iyong armadong tunggalian. Kaya nagbalik loob kami para lumapit sa gobyerno at pag-usapan paano ‘yung pag-unlad, paano yung mamamayang katutubo, ‘yung kanilang lupang ninuno na sana manatili sa kanila,” Abuque said.

Meanwhile, the provincial government has already extended food assistance to the families of the rebel returnees.

“After interrogation ng PNP, nag-advice ang governor na ilagay na sila sa safe house for further assessment sa helping process ng kapitolyo for rebel returnees,” said Baybayan.

The rebel returnees will also receive assistance from the national government under the Comprehensive Integration Program (CLIP), which provides livelihood and financial assistance to help them reintegrate into mainstream society. (Liezel Cayanan/Pampanga PIO)