CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Vaccination against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will be among the benefits that members of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) can avail of once they turn their backs on the armed struggle.
The Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) will include surrenderers in its vaccine allocation should they decide to surrender.
In a statement on Sunday, Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said the 4ID will facilitate the inoculation of former rebels.
“True to our promise, we have coordinated with LGU (local government units) health offices to accommodate CTG members and leaders for vaccination,” he stated.
The 4ID received more than 20,000 doses of various brands of Covid-19 from LGUs where their units are based.
“These can be shared with CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) members who will lay down their arms and choose to be safe against the Covid-19,” Brawner said.
“Let this pandemic become a blessing in disguise where we can unite and begin the phase of totally ending the insurgency problem and tread the path of peace and development,” he added.
In coordination with LGUs, the 4ID line battalions have been assisting in the vaccination of former fighters and leaders who were captured during the recent Bukidnon clashes.
Seven of the 14 captured guerrillas were found positive for Covid-19, including one of the four fatalities.
Another rebel who tested positive was Adelaida Magpatok, the CTG consultant and CPP-NPA-NDF Central Committee member who was arrested in Quezon, Bukidnon on Sept. 15.
On Sept. 16, the 88th Infantry Battalion (88IB) and the town of Maramag in Bukidnon administered Sinovac and AstraZeneca jabs on 11 former rebels and six of their dependents.
The following day, the 58IB and Claveria, Misamis Oriental inoculated 15 former rebels from different units of North Central Mindanao Regional Committee with Moderna and Sinovac vaccines.
Meanwhile, the 75IB based in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur held vaccination for seven former members of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee while the 23IB in Buenavista, Agsuan del Norte gave jabs to six ex-rebels and four dependents on Sept. 15.
Jimwel Salazar, the captured commanding officer of Sub Regional Sentro De Gravidad Westland, received his first dose on Sinovac on Sept. 17.
The Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Council has designated the CPP, NPA, and NDF as a terrorist groups.
The European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines also listed the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. (PNA)