From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 28): Ex-rebels from Sarangani seek audience with PRRD
Fifteen former communist rebels who surrendered to the government in Sarangani province will be flown to Malacañang soon to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte.
The rebels who turned in their rifles to the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion and 1002nd Infantry Brigade on Tuesday will be airlifted to Manila to form part of the third batch of surrenderees to have an audience with the President.
The returnees belonged to the New People’s Army Guerilla Front Committee 75 in Sarangani.
Lt. Colonel Marion Angcao, 73rd IB chief, said rebels who surrendered with guns were considered by the Army as sincere in their desire to rejoin the mainstream society.
“If they surrender with their firearms, at least we can say they are sincere,” Angcao said, adding that those with guns would receive remuneration from the government depending on the valuation of the weapons.
Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said the returnees would receive financial aid through the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) so they could live normal lives with decent sources of income.
Apart from the financial aid, Solon said the local government would also provide free education to returnees or their children who wanted to pursue education.
Earlier, two NPAs from Guerilla Front 71 Far South Mindanao Region surrendered to the 73rd IB in Alabel town, Sarangani, after rebel leaders ordered them to harass fellow Indigenous Peoples in Malapatan town.
Angcao said Dondon Tumbo, 19 of Sito Lower Kilotong, Barangay Pag-asa, Alabel, Sarangani and Martin Mangayong, 40, resident of Sitio Akbual, Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani, turned in their M-16 Armalite rifle and AK 47 assault rifle to 73rd IB.
“I surrender because I do not obey unlawful order,” Tumbo told soldiers. “Our leaders want us to harass our fellow Lumads in the community,” he added.
“I am old and I am tired of running away from government forces,” Mangayong said. “Besides, I do not want to harm my fellow lumad.”
Angcao said they would continue to intensify their security operations, Community Support Programs (CSP), information gathering and collaboration to stakeholders to thwart the atrocities planned by the NPAs.
Meanwhile, Col. Roberto Ancan, 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander, said that with the active participation of the LGU’s and stakeholders in the peace and order campaign, they expect more NPA rebels to go back to the folds of law along with their firearms.
“Those rebels who remain loyal to their ideology will be dealt with accordingly,” Angcan said, adding that his unit would continue to intensify its security operation to protect and secure the people in its area of responsibility.