Twenty-five members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Oriental surrendered to military authorities and turned over firearms and ammunition.
In a press release, Lt. Colonel Israel Galorio, public information officer of the Visayas Command (Viscom), said the rebels were presented during a ceremony at the Philippine Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) headquarters in Negros Occidental’s Himamaylan City yesterday.
Galorio told the Philippine News Agency that the surrender was a result of continuous localized peace engagement activities in Negros Oriental.
The 25 former rebels (FRs), also known as “Friends Rescued” as described by the military, are remnants of the NPA’s weakened guerilla front, Central Negros 2 under the Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor.
They surrendered on different occasions to the 94IB under the Joint Task Force Spear and the Philippine National Police at Barangay Tambo in Negros Oriental’s Ayungon town.
The FRs turned over six shotguns and two caliber .38 revolvers with several live ammunition.
Brigadier General Orlando Edralin, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, urged the returnees to embrace the path of peace and transformation.
“The integration of these 25 individuals into the mainstream society symbolizes their commitment to leave behind a life of conflict and embrace a future of peace and prosperity. This is a testament to the power of localized peace engagements, wherein initiatives are driven by and for the people of Negros Island, as these also signify our determination to build a peaceful and progressive society, free from the grip of armed violence,” Edralin said.
Meanwhile, Lt. General Benedict Arevalo, Viscom chief, lauded the troops for their unceasing efforts in pushing for various peace initiatives in Negros Island.
“This is the product of our commitment and dedication to curb the insurgency in the region. This influx of surrenders from the ranks of the CPP-NPA delivered a substantial blow that will further weaken the terrorist group,” Arevalo said. (PNA)