DAVAO ORIENTAL — Showing their genuine and wholehearted intent to finally return to the folds of the law, 49 members and mass supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA) have surrendered to the government on Friday, October 16, 2020.
The surrenderees — consisting of 27 active NPA members, 5 Militiang Bayan (MB), some members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL), NPA members who have lie low, former rebels who have not yet been enrolled in any government program, and relatives of active NPA members, were warmly welcomed by Governor Nelson Dayanghirang at the Provincial Capitol.
The Governor lauded the surrenderees’ decision to yield to the government and embrace a peaceful life.
“The Philippine government only aims to help its fellow Filipino. So, despite the fact that the (NPA) antagonize the government, they are still being assisted by the government,” said Gov. Dayanghirang, adding that many former rebels have already received sundry of assistance from the government in the form of livelihood and financial assistance, education, skills development, medical and psychological support, among many others through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
The Governor urged the surrenderees to take seriously the opportunity given to them. He added that building peace is for the benefit of everyone. “If there is violence and social unrest, everyone will suffer,” he said, saying that there will be no development in the communities without building peace.
The surrenderees, who were formerly operating in the hinterland areas of the municipalities of Lupon, San Isidro, Banaybanay, and the City of Mati, were organized by the provincial government and the Philippine Army to make it easier for them to get aid from the government through the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
One of the surrenderees, 56-year-old Padrino, who was a former member of the NPA said he decided to leave the group many years ago because he realized that there is no future inside the movement.
Within 30 years since he surrendered to the government, Padrino focused on farming. He also received some assistance from the government for which he is thankful.
38-year-old “Ka-Edgar”, also a former member of the NPA who admitted that he used to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) for the group, said he is thankful that he is now on the side of the government as he can no longer bear in his conscience the guilt of putting innocent people’s lives in danger. He said he also used to be a member of some groups organizing the youth and later recruiting them to join the armed group.
Since he left the Communist group in 2015, Ka-Edgar has been living a peaceful life with his family. “I will never go back to an insurgent life. There is no direction there. I hope my former comrades will do the same as I did which is to surrender,” he said.
Both Padrino and Ka-Edgar now put the past behind them as they look forward to a brighter future with the help of the government.
Vice-Chairman of the PTF-ELCAC Mr. Ednar Dayanghirang said that the government is always prepared to help.
Also present during the reception of the surrenderees at the Provincial Capitol is Executive Officer of the 701st Brigade, Philippine Army Lt. Col. Enrique Rafael. | By KLD