MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon: Another batch of 54 fully armed rebels of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the military here on Wednesday afternoon, the military said on Thursday.
Army Maj. Christian Uy, the spokesperson of the army’s Cagayan De Oro City based 4th Infantry Division, said that the rebels belonged to the NPA’s Guerilla Front 34 and Guerilla Front 4B.
He said that of the 54 who surrendered, 10 were regular NPA members while the 43 others, including 2 amazons, were members of the Barrio Revolutionary Committees and “Militia Ng Bayan” (Village militiamen), all members of the Indigenous People of the Umayamnon Tribe.
Uy said that the former NPA rebels received a total of P 315,000 from the governments “guns for peace program” as remuneration for the 54 assorted firearms they have surrendered to the military.
He said that Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the army’s 4th Infantry Division, distributed the checks with the assistance of provincial administrator Nestor Cajes who represented Governor Jose Maria Zubiri of Bukidnon.
In his welcome message, Visaya urged the former rebels to “to work hand-in-hand together with all the people in Bukidnon in solving the insurgency situation through peaceful resolutions of conflicts.”
For his part, Cajes said that Gov. Zubiri has expressed his gratitude to the NPA rebels who decided to return to the mainstream society and promised that the provincial government would extend assistance in addition to the AFP remuneration.
“The government, especially the province of Bukidnon, will provide additional support on top of the guns for peace program of the AFP to you as a fresh start of your life back with your family in your communities,” Cajes said.
The surrender of the NPA rebels took place a week after the people in Bukidnon held condemnation rallies against the NPA rebels for killing town Mayor Mario T. Okinlay of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.
The North Central Mindanao Region command of the communist NPA claimed responsibility in the killing of Okinlay whom they accused of working closely with the military in the anti-insurgency drive in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. PNA