CAMP DIEGO SILANG, La Union-- The government's anti-terrorism campaign scored a major victory when a high-ranking officer of the New People's Army (NPA) operating in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions surrendered on Monday.
Senior Supt Angelito Dumangeng, La Union Police director, identified the rebel leader as Manuel Arpid, alias "Ka Manuel", of Tinglayan, Kalinga province, who served as a political affairs officer of the rebel group.
Arpid also turned over to authorities an M14 U.S. rifle allegedly used by rebel snipers.
Dumangeg said the surrender of "Ka Manuel" was the result of intensified intelligence monitoring by joint operatives of La Union intelligence operatives, the Regional Intelligence Division, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and military units.
“The successful and non-violent means to win over our brothers to rejoin the society’s mainstream, is our earnest yearning for them to have healthier and better lives,” Dumangeng said.
Arpid called on his comrades to lay down their arms and live normal lives with their families.
The rebel returnee joined the NPA in 1980. His two-decade armed struggle caused a heavy toll on hishealth. He told reporters he wanted to recuperate and help his family, adding that what he did was a useless struggle.
Arpid was the third insurgent in La Union this year to return to the fold of the law after experiencing the harsh life in the mountains and eventually realizing that armed struggle would not bring them anywhere.
Under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program, a rebel returnee is entitled to receive financial support and other government assistance through the Department of Interior Local Government, Department of Social Welfare andDevelopment and their respective local government units.