By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
At least 24 insurgents from the New People’s Army (NPA) have surrendered to elements of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) of the Philippine Army in Negros Oriental last Wednesday.
62IB commander, Lt. Colonel Melvin Flores, refused to identify the surrenderees.
According to Flores, two NPA insurgents belonging to the Leonardo Panaligan Command based in Central Negros yielded to the 62IB in Guihulngan City last August 21 and 24.
This was quickly followed by a mass surrender of 22 other rebels, whom he described as physically tired and hungry.
One of the rebels, identifying himself as “Ka Motmot,” stated that he had become disillusioned over the false promises and heavy workload given to him by his rebel higher ups.
He also revealed that the final straw came when his fellow rebels killed his own brother due to false allegations against him.
He further admitted that he was one of the rebels involved in a clash with government forces last August 14 in the city’s Barangay Sandayao, wherein he confirmed that several of his colleagues were wounded in the gun battle.
“Ka Kulafu,” another surrenderee and previously a member of the NPA’s Special Partisan Unit, also threw barbs against his former comrades stating that for the past 15 years that he had been part of the rebels he didn’t notice any change in his life.
He has also shown deep remorse over the murders he had committed against innocent civilians, adding that the rebel movement doesn’t have any respect on human rights.
Following the mass surrenders, Flores said the former rebels will undergo debriefing and they would be able to receive assistance under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Each of the former rebels will also receive an additional P10,000 in livelihood assistance.
During the surrenders, the former rebels also yielded their firearms to the 62IB which comprises an M16 rifle, two .45 caliber pistols, and two .38 caliber pistols.
Earlier this month, the NPA rebels have engaged in several gun battles with the government troops between Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental./DGB, WDJ