FORMER rebels belonging to the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) will undergo a two-month training as paramilitary troopers.
Captain Cenon Pancito III, spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said 267 members of rebel faction now known as Kapatiran sa Progresibong Lipunan training will allow them to protect their communities through Peace Development Centers and self-defense units or Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units (Cafgu).
The combatants will be issued firearms when they are deployed to communities, he said.
About 310 members of the RPA-ABB surrendered their high-powered firearms to Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID) headquarters in Jamindan, Capiz Sunday, September 8.
They came from Tanjay City in Negros Oriental, Ibajay town in Aklan province, Maasin town in Iloilo province, and cities of Bago, Cadiz, and Kabankalan, and municipality of Cauayan in Negros Occidental.
Pancito said these members were identified by the authorities as armed members of the group based in various areas in the region.
The bulk of the RPA-ABB members is located in 91 villages in Western Visayas.
The turnover of firearms was simultaneously done in the whole region over the weekend.
Part of the caches were 207 long and short firearms, assorted explosives, and rounds of ammunition surrendered to the police in the areas of Barangay Bagonbon in San Carlos City, Barangay Celestino Villacin in Cadiz City, Barangay Dos Hermanas in Talisay City, Barangay Tabigue in E.B. Magalona town, and Barangay Talacdan, Cauayan town in Negros Occidental.
The government will decommission former combatants of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) and their firearms within this week, he said.
The RPA-ABB is a breakaway faction of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Western Visayas.
The rebels return to the fold of the law is the result of effective localized peace talks, he added.
At least 200 combatants, who surrendered more than 200 firearms and explosives to the government, were consolidated at Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr., Bacolod City.
“The consolidation was part of the preparations for this week’s decommissioning ceremony,” Pancito said.
The RPA-ABB and its political wing, Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Mangagawa-Pilipinas (RPM-P), signed a peace agreement with the government in 2000.
Pancito said the RPA-ABB, now known as Kapatiran, has denounced the leadership of Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison.
Following their breakup from the CPP-NPA, leaders of the RPA-ABB and RPM-P, were killed by NPA assassins in Quezon City in 1998. (TDE)