Over 8,000 rebels have surrendered since 2017, says military

OVER 8,000 members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) have surrendered to the government since 2017, a military official said.

Philippine Army spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala said rebel surrenderers increased after the government implemented the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip).

The E-Clip is an assistance program for the rebel returnees who want to start their lives again away from the communist group.

It offers surrenderers P15,000 financial support, P50,000 for livelihood and a remuneration for the firearm they surrendered with an amount ranging from P12,000 to P210,000 depending on the type of firearm.

The government is also funding the construction of so-called “halfway s

houses,” which will serve as a venue in rehabilitation and healing sessions and education and skills training activities for the rebel returnees.

Zagala said the rebel surrenderers were profiled and it was then when they identified that majority of them were recruited while they were still minors and studying in various schools.

Meanwhile, he noted the important role of the parents in guiding and having an open communication with their children in order to keep them away from the recruitment of the communist group.

Several mothers have testified before a Senate inquiry on how their children suddenly went missing after being recruited in their respective schools by the militant group which were the alleged legal front of the CPP-NPA.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the communist rebels were resorting to such desperate recruitment efforts as their forces “tremendously diminish, their deceptive recruitment of minors is nothing new as since they have been doing this for decades.”

The military also said the NPA forces are continuously going down due to the programs of the governments such as the e-clip and the localized peace talks.

Due to the continuous recruitment of the youths, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año called for the revival of the Ant-Subversion Law, which was supported by both the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP).

In a statement, PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde said the local insurgency will “die a natural death” when its ideological foundation is criminalized.

“Because the CPP-NPA employs violence and terrorism to advance its cause to topple government, all its organizational components including ideological roots must be subject to the justice system as violations of law just like the criminal actions committed by armed fighters of the NPA,” he said.

“Criminalizing subversion will empower government to exercise its inherent right to protect itself against forces that seek to bring it down. At the same time, an enabling law that criminalizes subversion augurs well with national objectives in support of Executive Order No. 70 to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. Such law will allow the PNP to effectively implement legal offensive actions against the CPP-NPA-NDF and all the criminal, economic and organizational support systems that sustain its terrorist activities,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)


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