BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Eight self-confessed members of the New People’s Army in central Negros surrendered on December 26 in Isabela, Negros Occidental, as the Communist Party of the Philippines marked its 53rd founding anniversary.
Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said that the surrender of eight rebels to the 62nd Infantry Battalion headquarters in Brgy. Libas, Isabela. was facilitated by the Joint Local Task Force (JLTF) – ELCAC (Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict) and Local Peace Engagement (LPE) Cluster.
Pasaporte said that the activity was highlighted by the burning of CPP-NPA flag to formally withdraw their support and affiliation from the NPA followed by a candle lighting, prayer of peace and release of white balloons to symbolize hope, peace and unity among Negrosanons.
He added that the surrender of eight NPA members has contradicted rebel claims that more are joining their group.
It only indicates that they have lost the support of the people in Negros Island, Pasaporte also said.
He added that they are expecting more NPA members to surrender soon.
Since its implementation in 2019, Pasaporte disclosed that the LPE, which is an instrument that enables the government not only to directly engage the rebels in a peaceful discourse but also to confer with the residents in communities affected by armed conflict, made significant impact on the peace and security situation of communities in central Negros.
The eight former rebels initially received Christmas gifts and goods from the JLTF-ELCAC of Central Negros and 303rd Infantry Brigade.*