• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Visayas Command reported that its incessant Local Peace Engagement continues to deliver irreversible losses to the Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army, with the influx of surrenders of its combatants and militiamen
VISCOM reported that it has documented the surrender of 293 rebels from January to November this year, of which 82 have returned to the folds of law in Region 6, majority in Negros Island, composed of 82 NPA regular members and six militiamen, eight in Region 7 and 197 in Region 8.
In the same period, former rebels also surrendered 94 assorted guns.
The former rebels were also enrolled in the government Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), and have received initial assistance from the local government units and initial assistance from the ECLIP.
In a report, VISCOM also said that 24 former rebels have now been enlisted in the regular force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, while 107 have been integrated to the CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA), being part of the integrated territorial defense system established in their respective communities.
“Amidst our eagerness to end the local communist armed conflict in the region the soonest possible time, we do not discount the fact that we are fighting against our fellow Filipinos who are also victims, having been deceived by the CPP-NPA to fight against our government, VISCOM chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo said.
This is the reason why we persistently call upon them to choose the path of peace and return to the folds of the law, as we value their lives and value their families,” Arevalo further said.
Within a period of one week, 29 rebels affiliated with the Central Negros 2 under the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor have surrendered to the 94th Infantry Battalion, in separate ceremonies held in cities of Himamaylan and Kabankalan, a report of the 303rd Infantry Brigade said.
“As we are highly motivated to sustain our momentum in our focused military operations, we also put equal emphasis to our localized peace engagement,” Arevalo said.*