Bacolod City – The unceasing efforts in pushing forth the implementation of various peace initiatives in Negros island yielded again positive results, including the surrender of 25 NPA combatants and militiamen in central Negros, according to Visayas Command chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo.
This influx of surrenders from the ranks of the CPP-NPA delivered a substantial blow that will further weaken the terrorist group in Negros Island, Arevalo said.
The mass surrender of rebels, including 20 NPA combatants and five militiamen, members of the Central Negros 2, under the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, on November 17, came a month after 12 NPA fighters also surrendered to 79th Infantry Battalion in Sagay City, also turning over firearms.
Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of 3ID, said the mass surrender is a result of the collaboration between the 94th Infantry Battalion and the Himamaylan City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict chaired by Mayor Raymond Tongson, as well as the local police.
It serves as concrete evidence of the government’s sincere commitment to assist victims of misguided ideologies. Their reintegration clearly manifests that the communist-terrorist group can no longer sustain its organization and is on the brink of collapse, Sison said in a statement.
The 25 rebels surrendered six 12-gauge shotguns and two caliber .38 revolvers with ammunition.
Arevalo said that the surrender of their former comrades may give courage to the few remaining NPA terrorists to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.
They should grab this opportunity while they still can. We are willing to assist them if they choose the path of peace and live a progressive life with their families, he added.
One of the surrendered rebels disclosed that they decided to surrender because of fatigue and starvation while running away from Army soldiers who were relentlessly pursuing them.
The 25 rebels were presented by Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, and Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, 94th Infantry Battalion commander, and other members of the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, who facilitated their surrender, at the Himamaylan City Hall.
Edralin lauded the courage and determination of 25 rebels to choose the path of peace.
The surrenderers are now under the custody of the 94IB, for profiling and assessment, in order to avail of the benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)