Wednesday, June 14, 2017

19 NPA guerrillas surrender to Army in Masbate, undergo debriefing

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): 19 NPA guerrillas surrender to Army in Masbate, undergo debriefing

Some 19 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, including a 15-year-old girl, surrendered to the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) based in Milagros town in Masbate and yielded assorted firearms and combat uniforms on Tuesday afternoon.

The rebel returnees, who came from various towns in Masbate, had surrendered on separate occasions but were jointly presented to the media and ranking officials of the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police (PNP) at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Sr. Insp. Ma.Luisa Calubaquib, spokesperson of PRO5 based in Camp Gen. Simeon Ola in this city, in an interview Wednesday morning, said the former guerrillas are currently undergoing “custodial tactical debriefing” at the headquarters of the 96th Military Intelligence Company or MICO in Masbate City.

She said the surrendered firearms consisted of five M16 Armalite rifles, one M653 baby Armalite, one M2 Carbine, two shotguns, one .45-caliber, three .38-caliber pistols and sets of combat uniforms.

“For the young surrenderers, I know you have combat training. I encourage you to continue schooling and join the Armed Forces of the Philippines since you could be the next target of your own comrades,” Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, commander of the 903rd Infantry Brigade, told the rebel returnees during the media presentation.

He said it would be better for the former NPA rebels to join the Army “so you can defend yourselves.”

Trinidad, in an interview, also on Tuesday afternoon, added that the rebel returnees who surrendered their firearms would be rewarded with a cash amount.

He said high powered firearms have a cash reward of around PHP100,000.

“The rebels decided to submit themselves to the government as they had been worn out from walking all day on the mountainous terrain while hiding from government troops,” said Trinidad.

He said the rebel returnees, whose identities were withheld for security purposes, said they sometimes had nothing to eat as they kept roaming around the mountainous areas.

“They will be kept in a safehouse to protect them,” said Trinidad.

Trinidad said the surrender of the rebels would significantly weaken the armed rebel group, especially in the second district of Masbate province.

Trinidad encouraged other communist rebels to surrender to the government and embrace the “privilege of being an ordinary citizen.”

He said the NPA guerrillas who surrendered told the Army they had been “detached from their families” when they began joining the NPA but they want to be with their families now so they decided to return to the fold of the law.

Trinidad said the rebel returnees will receive “special treatment” from the government.

“They can avail of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program or CLIP, such as cash and livelihood assistance,” he said.

Trinidad said the rebel returnees do not belong to only one group but were from different groups under the NPA.

Calubaquib added the former rebels once belonged to the Larangan Gerilya 1, Kilusan sa Platoon 4 or KSPN4.

"They decided to consolidate themselves, sought help from relatives and elected government officials so they could safely surrender,” added Trinidad.

Calubaquib said combined offices of the Army and PNP had facilitated the surrender of the NPA rebels.

She said those that helped in the surrender included the 96th MICO, Intelligence Platoon of the 2nd Infantry Battalion under the 9th Infantry Division, 5th Regional Police Public Safety Battalion and Masbate Police Provincial Office.

The presentation of the rebel returnees to media was attended by Sr. Supt. Froilan Elopre, director of Masbate Provincial Police Office, and some high-ranking PNP and Army officials.

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