By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Around 310 members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Bongcayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) surrendered their high-powered firearms to Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID) headquarters in Jamindan, Capiz Sunday, September 8.
These members came from Tanjay City in Negros Oriental, Ibajay town in Aklan province, Maasin town in Iloilo province, and cities of Bago, Cadiz, and Kabankalan, and municipality of Cauayan in Negros Occidental.
Captain Cenon Pancito III, chief of the 3ID Public Affairs Office, said these members were identified by the authorities as armed members of the group based in various areas in the region.
The bulk of the RPA-ABB members is located in 91 villages in Western Visayas.
The turnover of firearms was simultaneously done in the whole region over the weekend.
Part of the caches were 207 long and short firearms, assorted explosives, and rounds of ammunition surrendered to the police in the areas of Barangay Bagonbon in San Carlos City, Barangay Celestino Villacin in Cadiz City, Barangay Dos Hermanas in Talisay City, Barangay Tabigue in E.B. Magalona town, and Barangay Talacdan, Cauayan town in Negros Occidental.
Pancito said the surrendered firearms were illegally possesed by these members while they were still with the New People’s Army (NPA). Thus, it should be turned over to the government, he added.
One of the requirements for them to be reintegrated back to the society is for them to surrender their firearms, Pancito said.
The ceremonial decommission and destruction of firearms will be held at the headquarters on October 16.
These members will be given government-issued firearms and will undergo a three-month training to defend their communities should there be harassment from the NPA when they returned to their respective areas, he said.
Pancito said that the members were concerned about the security of their communities since they are vulnerable targets of the NPA after they stopped their allegiance to the revolutionary movement.
“We’ve been pursuing our efforts in terms of peace negotiation and this is a classic example of the success of the localized peace talks,” he said.
This shows the effectiveness of the localized peace talks rather than the national peace talks, he added.
Pancito said the Army continues to urge the remaining NPA members to surrender and do the same so that they can avail the benefits of the government.
Pancito said they believed that there will always be a good solution to end the conflict and to attain peace and progress in the country.