From the Journal Online (Jun 21): NPA leader, 50 rebs surrender
A high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) and 50 “bagani” or warriors yesterday surrendered to Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez in Sto. Niño, Talaingod, Davao del Norte after seeing the sincerity of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s offer to attain a peaceful resolution of the armed conflict.
Alvarez identified the NPA leader as Datu Gibang Apoga of the Lumad tribe, who earlier contacted him about his surrender and other NPA members that finally pushed through yesterday morning.
“This development is very significant to the peace initiative of President Duterte. I am very happy that another group of NPA rebels now returned to the fold of the law after finding the purity of the heart of our President to bring them once again to the mainstream society,” Alvarez told Ed Sarto over radio station dzME.
He assured the rebel returnees that he would work very hard for inclusion in next year’s national budget the resources for the construction of their housing units.
“May lupa naman na sila, humihingi sila ng bahay. Kaya pagsusumikapan kong maisama ito sa national budget next year,” the Speaker assured, adding that he initially gave the rebel returnees two carabaos, two cows, two generator sets, wire, bulbs, and construction materials good for two houses and one unit of 4x4 multicab van.
“The government doors are open for all the NPA members who want to enjoy a peaceful life,” he added.
Alvarez said the unit of Apoga is one of the two powerful NPA groups operating in Davao del Norte, Bukidnon and Compostela Valley, adding there is another batch which will surrender soon.
Last week, he said the group of Apoga surrendered two M16 rifles.
“May kasunod pa itong pagsuko na naganap ngayong umaga,” said Alvarez, underscoring the importance of the event yesterday in realizing the lasting peace and stability in the country.