By April M. Montes-Bravo, PIA 1, Ilocos Sur
SANTA CRUZ, Ilocos Sur – Three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the military at its headquarters here for the first week of July, the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division said Tuesday, July 11.
Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio Osias IV, head of the division’s 81st Infantry Battalion based in Ilocos Sur, identified them only by their aliases “Ka Winter,” “Ka Somer,” and “Ka Paul” for security reasons pending the processing of their status.
The three NPA cadres are an additional to the list of 11 surrenderees of the said unit for the first semester of 2017, a proof of the relentless efforts of the military in securing the area from insurgency and threat.
In a statement, Ka Winter said that he surrendered to the military because “it has been hard in the mountains nowadays, especially this rainy season. We always run out of food and the military is everywhere.”
On the other hand, KaSomer said “When I heard the government program for NPA rebels, through the 81st Infantry Battalion, I immediately took the opportunity to surrender.”
While Ka Paul said that he heard the good treatment of the Army and how it helped the former rebels claim their Government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) benefits.
Maj. Gen. Angelito De Leon, commander of the 7th Infantry Division, commended the surrenderees for their decision to lay down their arms in exchange for a peaceful life with their families.
“I call on other NPA members to also take advantage and avail of CLIP so that they can start a new life outside the armed struggle,” De Leon said.
Further, Col. Henry Robinson Jr., commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade, said “We have seen the successes of every individual who surrendered to achieve a peaceful and productive life with the help of the government. This will convince others who are still fence sitters or just observing what will happen that surrendering is indeed a viable option than being in the armed struggle considering that what they are supposed to be fighting has now became irrelevant and a non-issue anymore.”
Lt. Col Osias added, “We will never get tired of reaching out to our rebel brothers and sisters in the NPA rebel movement. We will assure them of our assistance and protection should they decide to surrender.” #