• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
More self-confessed New People’s Army rebels in central Negros have surrendered to the authorities and turned over guns and an explosive in Negros Oriental, as their former comrades, who earlier abandoned the armed struggle availed of livelihood assistance and opportunities, rejoined mainstream society.
Fifteen more rebels, members of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of Central Negros 2, under the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, surrendered to the Philippine Army and police on February 18, in Brgy. Tambo, Ayungon, Negros Oriental.
The former rebels also surrendered an M4 automatic assault rifle, two caliber .38 revolvers, a 12-gauge homemade shotgun, and a rifle grenade.
Their surrender resulted from the joint effort of the 94th Infantry Battalion, Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 7, PNP Special Action Force, 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office.
The 15 former rebels confessed to the authorities of being tired and hungry, due to focused military operations launched against their group, and that their morale is low.
Their identities have been withheld for security reasons.
Meanwhile, twenty-five of their former comrades who surrendered earlier to the 94th Infantry Battalion in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, received P10,000 each from the Department of Social Welfare Development, through its Assistance to Individual in Crisis Situation.
A total of P250,000 financial assistance was received by former rebels, according to Capt. Eduardo Rarugal Jr., 94IB Civil Military Operations officer.
Eleven other former rebels and 14 Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) members completed their 45-day training on Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) National Certificate 1, as facilitated by 94IB, in partnership with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the local government of Ayungon in Negros Oriental.
Various local government agencies are working hand-in-hand thru the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (LTF-ELCAC) in providing various initiatives to deliver the different programs for the former rebels as they reintegrate into the community and be with their families to start their new normal lives, according to Rarugal.*