From the Daily Tribune (Apr 5): Military eyes more surrenderees from NPA
The military is expecting more surrenderees from the ranks of the New People’s Army as indicated by “feelers” coming from the communist combatants as it countered claims by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that the Army is passing civilians as NPA surrenderees.
Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (ID), said that the command has been receiving numerous requests for “safe conduct passes” from the NPA members lately.
He attributed the “surrender feelers” to the hardships now being experienced by communist rebels in the mountains due to lack of food supply and constantly on the run as military operations against them are continuing.
“They also noticed how the government treats those who surrendered before…who were given livelihood and now living a normal life…their lives were very much improved,” Visaya said.
Visaya, at the same time, countered CPP-NPA claims that the 72 surrenderees presented by the 4th ID last week were fake communist fighters.
“They (CPP-NPA) will always do that, deny that because it (mass surrender) is demoralizing to their members,” Visaya said.
“This (surrender) is properly documented…there was validation that these were NPA members,” he added.
The Army general also dismissed allegation by the communist group that military commanders are using the government’s Social Integration Program (SIP), which provides livelihood and cash assistance to those who return to the folds of the law, as a tool of corruption.
Visaya said that the awarding of cash and livelihood assistance is witnessed by the media and other stakeholders.
According to Visaya, the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (CNN) is on the brink of self-destruction following the capture of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, tagged as CPP chairman and secretary general, respectively.
Visaya said that the arrest crippled the communist organization with no one directing the armed groups operation while their centralized-type logistical management is also paralyzed.
“The current situation of the CNN is likened to a car without a driver and without gasoline. These gains are proofs that they are becoming weak and whenever they perceived that they are at the losing end, they will again manifest their intention to negotiate and return to the negotiating table,” Visaya said.
“We will continue accepting those who would like to return to the folds of the law and be with their families. While for those who insist on staying in the mountains, we will let them rot there, like the dickens. It is now their choice whether they want to live happily with their families or die miserably and regrettably in the jungles. I have ordered our field units to continue their operations without let-up,” Visaya added.