Sunday, January 20, 2019

6 Iraya tribesmen abandon NPA; yield to Army’s 76IB in Mindoro

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 19, 2019): 6 Iraya tribesmen abandon NPA; yield to Army’s 76IB in Mindoro

ASSISTANCE ASSURED. A troop member of the76th Infantry Battalion (76IB) based in Occidental Mindoro assists the six rebel surrenderers from 'Milisyang Bayan'. The six yielded to authorities on Thursday (Jan. 17, 2019). (Photo courtesy of 2ID-DPAO)

CAMP GENERAL CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal -- Six Milisyang Bayan (MB) members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the Community Support Program (CSP) troops of the 76th Infantry Battalion (76IB) in Occidental Mindoro on Thursday.

In a report Friday, the Army’s 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division (2ID) public affairs office said government troops identified the surrenderers as indigenous peoples (IPs) from the Iraya tribe in the sub-villages of Kabilugan and Kalinyawan, in Barangay San Vicente, Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro.

Lt. Col. Mario Lito I. Retirva, commander of 76IB, said the surrenderers were only known through their aliases “Bugo,” “Siri,” “Rustom,” “Buho,” “Pedro,” and “Dos” when they turned themselves in to authorities, for safety and security.

“These MBs served as the NPA’s eyes and ears against the government troops in the barangay. They also served as NPA force multipliers and they operate together with the NPA regular members when the group needs additional personnel to conduct atrocities such as raid, ambush, sniping and extortions,” Retirva said.

“Nalinlang kami ng mga NPA at sinamantala nila ang aming kakulangan sa edukasyon. Ginamit nila ang istado ng aming pamumuhay para magalit at mag-aklas kami laban sa gobyerno. Ginamit din nila kami upang lasunin ang kaisipan ng aming mga kapwa katutubong Mangyan. (The NPAs duped us and took advantage of our lack of education. They also incited us on the pretext of our lowly state in life to hate and rebel against the government),” the surrenderers said.

They also realized later that they have not been helping their tribal community and admitted they have in fact been blamed as the root of conflict in their locality. “Kaya minarapat naming sumuko para makapag- bagong buhay (That is why we decided to surrender, to live a new life),” the surrenderers added.

Col. Marceliano V. Teofilo, commander of the 203rd Brigade in Mindoro Island, said this is the stage wherein the NPAs in Mindoro are becoming insignificant to the masses.

He described the series of surrenders as concrete proof that the communist terrorist group’s deceptions are no longer acceptable to the masses, and the people are now fighting back.

“The 203rd Brigade will not stop until all NPAs in Mindoro including their top brass personalities surrender,” he added.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Rhoderick M. Parayno, Army’s 2ID commander, lauded the efforts of the 76IB.

“We are winning our campaign against the NPA terrorists in the regions. The people are losing confidence on their futile cause and they are also losing their members,” Parayno said.

He also reiterated his appeal to the NPAs to just return to the fold of the law if they want to be with their families and live peaceful, normal and productive lives.

“I guarantee their safety and I’ll make sure that they receive all the benefits due them offered by the government,” Parayno added.

A total of 34 NPA members have already surrendered to 2ID forces this month, including the eight surrenderers in Mindoro and 20 Dumagat NPA members in Laguna.

He also rebel returnees of benefits from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) where a former rebel will receive PHP 15,000 immediate cash aid and PHP 50,000 livelihood assistance.

Surrenderers under the E-CLIP will also receive firearms remunerations, given access to housing, loans, medical and legal assistance, among others.

The educational benefits afforded to them are also extended to their immediate family members.

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