CATBALOGAN CITY–A rebel leader operating in different parts of Samar province has surrendered to Army officials together with 12 of his former comrades.
The former rebels, led by ‘Ka Linoy’, who was the leader of the Sentro De Grabidad, Bugsok Platoon, SRC Sesame of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, surrendered to Col. Lenart Lelina, the commanding officer of the 801st Infantry Brigade based in Hinabangan town, Samar on Jan.12 of this year.
The former rebels also surrendered their firearms consisting of 10 M16 rifles, two Cal. 45 and one Glock 17 pistol.
At least 93 of their supporters also decided to stop providing their support to the communist armed group.
‘Ka Linoy’ said the surrender of their firearms symbolizes their ‘goodwill and willingness to be integrated back to the society.’
More firearms are expected to be recovered as the surrenderees disclosed where they have hidden their firearms including anti-personnel mines which they often use when they stage their attack against government troops.
It was learned that the group of Ka Linoy belongs to the group of ‘Ka Antos’ which operates in the tri-boundaries of Pinabacdao, Calbiga, and Basey, all of Samar.
Difficulties living in the mountains and the military operations being conducted against them were the reasons cited by the former rebels for their surrender.
The implementation of the Provincial Task Force End Local Communist and Armed Conflict and the benefits they are to receive was also the reason why they decided to stop their armed struggle.
Major General Camilo Ligayo, the commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, welcomed the decision of the former rebels to surrender.
“Their surrender only proves that they are fed up with the wrong ideologies of the NPA.
Also, this indicates that their trust and support are now shifted from the communist terrorist group to the government. With this, rest assured that the Army will assist them to avail the benefits under Enhanced Comprehensive and Local Integration Program (ECLIP),” he said.
And in a statement, Gov. Sharee Ann Tan said that she is glad that these former armed enemies of the government are now its partner in peace-building, especially in Samar province.
“We have reaped what we have sown. Our anti-insurgency campaign together with our ELCAC programs have proven to be fruitful. Today, we welcome another batch of former rebels who have returned to the folds of the law,” she said as read by Vice Gov.Arnold Tan during the ceremony.
“They are the witnesses of how the whole-of-nation approach has been effective, and how the government is sincere with its efforts to reintegrate them to the community, and liberate them from the false promises of the communist terrorist group,” Tan added.
“We saw a sharp decline in the number of NPA members, and we are excited to see our province insurgency-free. By then, our problem on peace and order will no longer hinder our progress. And we hope to achieve our aspiration in the near future,” the governor added.
The former rebels are now in the custody of the military as they wait for the processing of the needed documents for them to avail benefits entitled to rebel returnees.
(ROEL T. AMAZONA)