CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON, PALO, Leyte– Eighteen former rebels surrendered before police authorities on Friday (Feb.17) who were presented before members of the local media in a presser.
All former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) said that they have decided to abandon their former comrades and the communist armed group due to hardships in the mountains and avail the government program for returning rebels.
Of the 18 surrenderees, seven were from Eastern Samar; six from Samar, and five from Northern Samar. They also surrendered several firearms and a grenade.
Alias ‘Ka James’ said that he went to the mountains and joined the communist armed group after he suffered military abuse during the tenure of the controversial former Major Gen. Jovito Palparan.
Palparan was the region’s top military official in 2015 and was credited for the ‘significant reduction’ of the number of rebels in the region.
He is now detained after a court found him guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in connection to the abduction and disappearance of two University of the Philippines (UP) students, Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, in 2006.
The three Samar provinces are considered by the military where the insurgency problem of the region remains to be active and skirmishes between government troops and NPA rebels sometimes occur.
B/ Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil, the police regional director, said that he was glad that these former rebels decided to return to the folds of the law and want to live a normal life.
“And to those who are still in doubt of the government, please, this is your time to live anew. Make your children proud of you for choosing the right path,” he said.
“Indeed, their reintegration into the government is the best decision they have made to welcome genuine development for peace and progress. Hand-in-hand, we will attain the true peace we have long been waiting for,” he added.
It was learned that since the start of the year, 93 former NPA members have surrendered to government forces, particularly to the police in the region.
Marbil commended the efforts of his personnel who have been relentless in the campaign against insurgency and other lawless elements.
“It is through your dedication and commitment to public safety and orderliness that our brothers and sisters in the armed struggle have realized to come back to our one government,” the police regional director said.
(LIZBETH ANN A. ABELLA)