In Eastern Samar

TACLOBAN CITY– Ten members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Samar surrendered attributed to the newly-formed program of the provincial government encouraging rebel members to return to the fold of the law.

The 10 reformed rebels were identified by the military officials as key leaders of the ‘Apoy platoon’ of the sub-regional committee of the NPA operating in Eastern Samar.

On Oct.17, seven of them surrendered while on Monday(Oct.23) three more followed their comrades in giving up armed struggles.

The former rebels who surrendered before Lt. Col. Allan Tria, the commanding officer of the 78th Infantry Battalion based in Borongan City, also gave up their firearms consisting of two M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, and one M653 carbine, and other ‘war materials.’

Brigadier General Noel Vestuir, the commanding officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, also based in Borongan City, disclosed that the surrender of the former rebels was a result of the provincial government-initiated program under Governor Ben Evardone encouraging the rebels to surrender, dubbed as ‘Friends Rescued Engagement through Families’ or FReE Families.

The military official said that since the program was launched on September 19 of this year, 15 rebels have already returned to the fold of the law.

“We have once again proven that the love of family conquers the hate that the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF sowed in the hearts of their recruits as part of their agitate-organize-mobilize methods of radicalizing our people to support their evil intentions,” Vestuir said.

“The FReE Families project gives you an opportunity to be reunited with your families at the comforts of your home especially now that Christmas is fast approaching,” he added.