Eighty-seven former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) took an oath of adherence to the Code of Conduct of Non-Violence and Declaration of Peace Community as part of the National Peace Consciousness Month celebration in the province.
During the closing program Monday, rebel returnee Erol Biñas said they are grateful for the chance given to them by the government to return to their normal lives after they left the rebel movement.
He added that they have big hopes for their future.
Negrense peace advocate Delia Locsin administered the oath-taking to the 87 rebel returnees.
These rebels surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade in Negros Occidental from 2011 to present, military records show.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said the surrender of the 87 rebels shows that the call for peace of the provincial government is being answered.
“We are waging an all-out effort for peace. I am calling on them to return to the folds of government because their life in the revolutionary movement is difficult,” the governor said.
Marañon also informed the families of the 87 rebel returnees that they will be covered by the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Care Program aside from the livelihood and educational assistance they received from the provincial government.
During the program, a rebel amazon who surrendered two high-powered firearms to the 11th Infantry Battalion received P90,500 from the “Guns for Peace” program of the Armed Forces of the
Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, was assisted by Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio and Col. Jon Aying, commanders of the 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades, respectively, in awarding the cash grant to the female rebel returnee.
Marañon and Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson also turned over P9,000 in educational assistance, including tuition and allowances for one semester, to Bhemverly Complesa, Genesis Tamayor and Cyrus Canja, whose parents were killed in an ambush staged by the NPA in La Castellana town in January this year.