DAVAO CITY- Seven members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), including a commanding officer of the Pulang Bagani Command 8 who yielded to authorities recently were presented to the members of the media yesterday (May 3) at the headquarters of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 in Camp Catitipan, Buhangin this city.
The regional police identified the NPA returnees only as Nene, Jane, Waway, Ben, Rogel, Nestor, and Ojie.
Nestor is said to be a former commanding officer of Pulang Bagani Command 8, Southern Regional Committee in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte, while Nene and Jane served as squad leaders and supply- medics respectively.
Waway served as the leader of the Regional Political Committee, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) while the rest are full-time members of the communist movement.
Four of them surrendered in Davao del Norte Provincial Police Office while others voluntarily surrendered before the elements of the Philippine Army and Revitalized-Pulis sa Barangay (R-PSB).
The rebels also surrendered their firearms to government forces.
PRO 11 director Brigadier General Filmore Escobal said the surrender of the NPA members proves that government through the programs that are being delivered by the different government agencies are now being felt even in the hinterlands.
“Because of the National Task Force-Ending Local Armed Conflict, all government agencies are now working hand in hand for us to be able to achieve the desire of President Rodrigo Duterte to end the insurgency problem,” Escobal said.
He also said these rebels were only victims of NPA’s deception and were used to hate the government through the radicalization efforts.
“In Region 11, we can say that we are close to achieving the goal of the President to end the communist armed conflict before he steps down in 2022,” he added.
Meanwhile, Philippine Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier General Potenciano Camba said the whole nation approach has brought into surface through several strategies which primarily aim to advance and sustain the peace framework and put an end to the 52 years armed conflict.
“Sa ating mga rebel returnees, sana ay kasabay ng inyong pagbabalik-loob at pagsuko ng inyong mga sandata, ang inyong muling pagbabagong buhay at pagbangon muli na may pag-asa,” he said.
The surrenderers also received cash assistance from the government through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 11’s Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP).
Elizabeth Villareal of DOLE 11 said since last year there are 240 rebel returnees in Davao City who benefitted from a livelihood assistance amounting to over P2 million giving them the chance for a fresh start in life.
The beneficiaries received working capital in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs, and other support services to enable them to become entrepreneurs.
Apart from DILEEP, some 927 Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) barangays in the region have benefitted from the DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced (TUPAD) Workers.
TUPAD is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work.