The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is tracking New People’s Army (NPA) surrenderees or rebel returnees to ensure they do not go back to the mountains.
“We track them person-to-person kung asan na sila to make sure they are back in the mainstream,”
“We had a total of 442 surrenderees and 220 regular surrenderees in 2012,” Bernardo said. He clarified that regular surrenderees are not armed but are involved with the movement.
He said the AFP was very successful in the implementation of its program to encourage rebels to surrender. However, he added, “Nililimas nga namin ang surrenderees eh marami naman ang bumabalik (we scrounge for surrenderees and many do come back).”
The campaign was very centralized before so we are looking at this now to make sure that they do not only surrender but also remain with government, he said. We are confident that we will have more surrenderees who will really stay, considering the involvement of the local chief executives in the program, he added.
Bernardo said they are working with other government agencies like Tesda to ensure that the rebel returnees are trained in livelihood programs. “We teach them tilapia raising and we get them involved in agri-gulayan sa barangay,” he said.