THE Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said on Monday 11 New People's Army (NPA) rebels from Northern and Central Luzon surrendered due to "exhaustion from fighting for an ideology, which they thought could do good for the country."
Maj. Israel Galorio, Nolcom public information office chief, said eight of the surrenderers yielded to government troops on Saturday in Barangay Disulap in San Mariano town, Isabela province. They also handed to authorities three M16 rifles and one M1 Garand rifle.
On Sunday, three more NPA rebels yielded. One rebel came from Barangay Ambagiw in Besao town, Mountain Province with his.30 caliber M1 Springfield rifle. The two others are from Barangay Amtuagan in Tubu town, Abra who yielded two M16 rifles and a Springfield rifle, Galorio added.
Nolcom Commander Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said the surrenderers were exhausted from fighting the troops and from running away from the relentless military operations by government forces.
"They finally decided to give up their false cause to return to their respective families and live peaceful and progressive lives," Burgos said.
He noted that the government's whole of nation approach has gained its ground in Northern and Central Luzon.
"Social issues previously exploited by the NPA rebels are addressed responsively while the communities are insulated from the influence of the terrorist group. As such, movements of the NPA rebels are constricted, giving them no other option but to lay down their arms and join mainstream society," Burgos added.
"It will only be a matter of time and the NPAs in Northern and Central Luzon will be decimated."
Burgos, likewise, reiterated his call for the remaining members of the NPA to return to the folds of the law.
"Don't miss out on the opportunity to be with your family and live a peaceful life. Your former comrades have taken the lead and it is time for you to take yours. Avail the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (Eclip) while you still can," Burgos said.
Eclip offers immediate cash assistance of P15,000, livelihood assistance of P50,000 and remuneration for every firearm they bring along with them when they surrender. Other government agencies also give incentives and benefits to the former rebels and their families.
Galorio said the new rebel surrenderers were in addition to the 491 NPA rebels who have already returned to the government fold along with 185 firearms since Jan. 1, 2021.
He said the majority of these former rebels have already received their respective Eclip grants and that government troops are assisting those who recently returned to mainstream society to complete their requirements to avail said government program.