ILOILO CITY – A high ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) has surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) on Saturday.
Alias “Cardo”, 49, of Tubungan town yielded to government troops in their headquarters at Camp Monteclaro, Igtuba village, Miagao.
“This surrenderer said he is already tired of being part of the armed struggle,” Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commander of the 61st IB, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
However, the Army cannot yet divulge the real name and the position of the surrenderer for security reasons.
“He also has to undergo a further interview,” he said.
Batara said the surrender of the rebel member is a loss to the CPP-NPA, specifically to the Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay.
Batara said “Cardo” trusts the government and he is at ease that the government, especially the local government unit, will help him.
“He has doubts at first since he was indoctrinated by his leaders in the movement that once he surrenders, the army will torture him and that his life will be in great danger,” he said.
The surrender of “Cardo” was personally facilitated by Tubungan Mayor Roquito Tacsagon.
Batara said Tacsagon and Tubungan towns have again proven their commitment to the government’s fight against insurgency.
Tubungan town implements a reintegration program to benefit former members of the CPP-NPA.
The program dubbed “Project ROKIT” or Reintegration Oplan Kabalaka for Deserving Individuals in Tubungan provides rebel returnees with livelihood and other reintegration assistance.
Batara said the Army will facilitate the enrolment of “Cardo” in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
Meanwhile, Col. Marion Sison, 301st Brigade commander, said the surrender of “Cardo” proves that the campaign of the government against insurgency is working.
“It is a manifestation that the E.O. (executive order) 70 or the national task force to end the local communist armed conflict is functioning and effective in the area of Panay. For the next few months since the commencement of EO 70, we are expecting more surrenderers as we are aiming for peace and development,” he said in a statement. (PNA)