From the Visayan Daily Star (Mar 4, 2019): Rebels surrender 27 guns
The New People’s Army suffered a setback with the surrender of 25 of its members who endorsed 27 high-powered firearms to the authorities on Saturday, in a ceremony held at the 79th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Brgy. Bato, Sagay City, Negros Occidental, Col. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday.
This is also proof that localized peace talks are succeeding in Negros, contrary to claims of leaders of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros that they will not succeed, Arevalo said.
The surrender of 25 NPA members with their firearms will lessen the proliferation of guns, and will contribute to a reduction of possible election-related violence in the 1st district of Negros Occidental, during the May 13 elections, he added.
The 25 NPA red fighters and squad leaders belonging to the Platoon Robinson of the Northern Negros Front surrendered 27 firearms, including three M-16 rifles, an M-14 assault rifle, four M-1 garand rifles, 12 .45 caliber pistols, a .22 caliber magnum rifle with scope, four 12 gauge shotguns, and two 9mm Uzi machine pistols, a .38 caliber revolver, and magazines with ammunition, Police Lt. Col. Mario Baquiran, commander of the NOCPPO Provincial Mobile Force Company, said.
Lt. Col Emelito Thaddeus Logan, 79th Infantry Battalion commander, yesterday said that former rebels also took their oath of allegiance to support the government, before DILG North Cluster leader Fatima Daiz.
Logan also cited the important role of barangay officials in urging the NPA to give up violence, in support to the localized peace talks initiated by the 303rd Infantry Brigade last year.
The surrender of the 25 NPA members, who are operating in the tri-boundaries of Salvador Benedicto, San Carlos City and Murcia, was made through a joint effort of the 79IB, Special Action Battalion (SAB) 6 of the PNP, and 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company of NOCPPO.
The 303rd Infantry Brigade and NOCPPO, under the leadership of Police Col. Romeo Baleros.are now coordinating with the DILG in processing the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program that can be availed of by the former rebels, as well as an immediate assistance of P15,000.
Arevalo said the former rebels can also avail of P50,000 in livelihood assistance, firearms remuneration f from P12,000 to P500,000, education, medical and housing assistance, among others, from the government.
He added that negotiations are also ongoing for the surrender of more NPA rebels, but he did not elaborate on the details.
"It is not too late for them to surrender because the government knows that they are only victims of the CPP-NPA-NDF deception, Arevalo said.
The surrender of 25 NPA red fighters was also preceded by the return to the folds of the law of 254 Yunit Militia members and supporters of the CPP-NPA who also pledged to support the government, as a result of the Community Support Programs of the various infantry units of the 303rd Infantry Brigade in Negros Occidental.