Seven NPA rebels yield in Negros Oriental

Authorities release doves for peace and unity following the surrender of seven former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Poblacion, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of 62nd IB)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Seven alleged former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the Guihulngan City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (GCTF-ELCAC) in Barangay Poblacion, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental last Wednesday.

This development came a day after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA celebrated its 55th anniversary on December 26.

Lieutenant Colonel William Pesase Jr., commander of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB), presented the rebel returnees composed of six males and one female to the GCTF-ELCAC.

They took their Oath of Allegiance to the government and also surrendered a .38 caliber revolver, a .357 caliber revolver, and an improvised revolver.

The rebel returnees also denounced their support to the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) by rendering the “Panunumpa sa Kalinaw” officiated by Mayor Filomeno Reyes, chairperson of GCTF-ELCAC.

It was followed by a symbolic candle lighting, prayer offering, and releasing of white doves as a demonstration of the Guihulnganons’ hope for peace and unity among the Negrenses, the Army said.

A ceremonial burning of the CPP-NPA flags was also held which symbolized their withdrawal of support from the rebel group.

Each of them received foodpacks from the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) and fertilizers from the Office of the City Agriculturist, according to the Army.

The former NPA rebels will also receive other benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) upon completion of their requirements.

Brigadier General Orlando Edralin, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), welcomed the rebel returnees and expressed his appreciation for their bravery in returning to the folds of the law.

“What we have now is really a gain for peace and prosperity here in the area of Guihulngan,” Edralin said in a statement.

Edralin said that peace and development can be achieved with the support of the different government agencies and the cooperation of the Guihulnganons.

For his part, Reyes vowed to fight against terrorism. “I already see how Guihulngan City changed, with the dismantling of the NPAs here in Central Negros as mentioned by the 62nd IB, which shows a better environment for the people and business free from the threat of the NPAs,” the mayor said in a statement.