LEGAZPI CITY – The continuous mass surrender of New People’s Army (NPA) members in the Bicol Region fans the flame of hope of peace-loving communities that communist insurgency will soon suffer total downfall.
On Tuesday, Maj. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division spokesperson, confirmed in a statement that nine NPA rebels surrendered over the weekend to government troops in Sorsogon province.
They turned over two low-powered firearms, an anti-personnel mine, a printer, and propaganda materials.
Col. Aldwine Almase, commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, assured the former rebels (FRs) of the government’s help now that they have returned to the fold of the law and decided to embrace peaceful lives with their families.
“Tuloy-tuloy na ang kanilang pagbabagong buhay at tayo ay mananatiling nakaalalay sa kanila upang tiyaking sila at ang kanilang pamilya ay ligtas at may mapagkukunan ng maayos na hanapbuhay (Their lives will change and we are here to ensure that they are safe with their families and they have sources of income),” Almase said in a statement.
Police Regional Office 5 chief Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo and acting commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia, Brig. Gen. Adonis Bajao, recognized the bravery of the FRs for choosing peace over terrorism.
“We will celebrate New Year with new hope that we are united against insurgency. It is not impossible to win the war,” Estomo said.
Bajao said the FRs will be celebrating what may be their happiest New Year “because they will now enjoy a new life, a life that they truly deserve”.
The JTF Bicolandia said government-initiated engagements this month resulted in the killing of seven rebels and the confiscation of high-powered firearms, explosives, and propaganda materials.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)