SAN FERNANDO CITY, Jan. 29 (PIA) - - At least 1,003 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and supporters have voluntarily surrendered to the different field units of the army’s 7th Infantry Division operating in the provinces of Central and Northern Luzon for calendar year 2019.
Major Lenard T. General Agustin, the commander of the army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, cited the implementation of the ‘Whole of Nation Approach’ to end the local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) as the main reason for the voluntary surrender of these insurgents in their area of responsibilities.
“The collaborations between and among the national government agencies (NGAs) and the local government units (LGUs) as mandated by Executive Order 70 have played an active role for the end of insurgency in Central and Northern Luzon,” he said.
He said that LGUs and NGAs have worked with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for bringing an inclusive peace and sustainable development projects to the communities.
“The surrender of the 1,003 NPA rebels and supporters to our operating units in our areas of jurisdiction is a clear manifestation of the positive impact of the EO 70 in Northern and Central Luzon,” he said.
The army’s field units that worked on the voluntary surrender of these rebels and supporters were the 69th Infantry Battalion in Guimba, Nueva Ecija; the 48th Infantry Battalion in Bulacan; the 84th Infantry Battalion in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija; and the 81st Infantry Battalion in Ilocos Sur.
Upon their surrender, the rebels and their supporters were immediately assessed whether they were qualified or not to receive the benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
Major Amado C. Gutierrez, the Officer-in-Charge of the Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) of the army’s 7th ID, said the ECLIP is a program of the Philippine government that provides financial assistance and livelihood training for the qualified former NPA rebels and supporters.
Under the ECLIP, Gutierrez said the firearms remuneration starts at Php12,500.00 for Caliber .22 and as high as Php214,000.00 for Light M60 Machine Gun.
Meanwhile, Agustin assured the safety and security of those NPA rebels and supporters who choose to surrender to the army.
“Right now we are busy doing everything to protect our people in Central and Northern Luzon while we are encouraging the surrender of more NPA rebels and supporters,” he said.
“We are also taking extra effort in our information drives for the youth as they are easily trapped into the web of lies that the enemy weave to trigger their idealistic passions, which the rebels use it to their advantage and they even use them as child warriors,” Agustin added.
Having successfully dismantled the Komiteng Larangang Guerilla (KLG) Caraballo, a known NPA Guerilla Front operating in the tri-boundaries of Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Aurora, Major General Agustin eyed the eventual downfall of the KLG Sierra Madre in Region III, and the KLG South Ilocos Sur (SIS) in Region I. (JCR/FGL/PIA 1)