TACLOBAN CITY– At least two New People’s Army(NPA)members and 12 militia members based in Eastern Samar returned to the folds of the law, considered by military officials as a sign of the ‘weakening’ of the communist armed group in the province.

The rebels and the militia members also turned over several firearms consisting of two M-16 rifles, one Cal.30 Ml carbine, two Cal.45 pistols, one Ca.38 revolver, and two anti-personnel mines to the 78th Infantry Battalion based in Borongan City on Friday (August 19).

Joining them in their decision to return to the folds of the law were 61 of their civilian sympathizers, all from Barangay San Andres, Borongan City.

As a sign of their decision to leave the communist armed group, they took an oath of allegiance to the government in the presence of top Army officials led by B/Major Noel Vestuir, the commanding officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade and Col. Allan Tria, the commanding officer of the 78th IB.

Borongan City Mayor Jose Dayan Ivan Agda was also present during the event.
It was learned that the rebel members and their sympathizers decided to stop their engagements with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA due to the campaign of the government under its End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).

B/Gen. Vestuir said that the ‘mass surrender’ of these former rebels and their sympathizers will result in more surrender and in the process, help end the insurgency problem in Eastern Samar and parts of Samar, areas under the control of his brigade.

He then urged the other remaining active NPA rebels to yield their arms and return to the folds of the law.

“Your withdrawal of support and oath of allegiance to the government were not just a mere talk neither a piece, written on paper. We should be truthful in ending our support to the communist terrorist group, we should cut the connection of the barangay to the CPP-NPA-NDF. Let us make our community inhospitable to the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Vestuir said during the ceremony.

“Your violent communist ideology is no longer welcomed by the people in the communities since they are already with us in our efforts to end this 54-year local communist armed conflict. They are now giving us the information on your whereabouts, the locations of your arms cache and even the foods that you hide and prepositioned in the area,” he added.

Mayor Agda also expressed his gratefulness to the former rebels and their sympathizers.
“I am thankful that you have finally decided to return your trust and support to the government. Expect that the city government has programs intended for you,” the city mayor said. (JOEY A. GABIETA)