ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Philippine Army has urged communist insurgents to peacefully surrender and take advantage of the government’s amnesty offer and livelihood package for them to start a new life with their family.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his recent public speeches, even offered New People’s Army (NPA) rebels their own houses and join the military as soldiers should they lay down their weapons and surrender to the government.
On Wednesday, seven rebels surrendered to the Philippine Army in the town of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay
province, according to Major General Rolando Joselito Bautista, 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force ZamPeLan (Zamboanga Peninsula at Lanao) commander.
He identified those who yielded as Henry Bawan Becsala, Benbin Gumandag Mandaw, Mario Oksik Maghanaoy, Lauravel Obaran Niadas, Villa Neadas, Marcelino Gumangay Lavares and Joseph Gumangay Lavarez. They also handed over two AK-47 assault rifles and a .45-caliber pistol to the 102nd Brigade which facilitated the surrender.
“This recent surrender is a result of the combined intelligence and combat operations being launched by our troops on the ground to employ more pressure and compel the communist terrorists to lay down their arms.
There is an ongoing facilitation on the resolution of two surrendered NPA members, and the CLIP benefits will be done after this will be resolved,” Bautista said, referring to the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front, has been fighting for many decades now in an effort to overthrow the democratic government and install a Maoist state in the country.
Government peace talks with the rebels has failed and fighting continues in many areas in the country.