BUTUAN CITY – The Philippine Army expressed appreciation to the support provided by the local government unit (LGU) of Cantilan, Surigao Sur to former members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel, commander of the Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion (36IB), underscored Wednesday the support of Cantilan officials in strengthening the military’s effort to end the local communist armed conflicts “that have been affecting the lives of residents” in Surigao del Sur.
In particular, Diagmel particularly cited the initiatives of Cantilan Mayor Carla Pichay, who spearheaded Tuesday’s distribution of cash assistance to four former rebels who recently surrendered to 36IB.
“The determination and political will of our local chief executive in battling this five-decade insurgency in the province is the key to the peace and development that every peace-loving Surigaonon is longing for,” Diagmel said.
The four ex-NPA fighters received PHP10,000 each from the Cantilan LGU as immediate assistance while their enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) is being processed, he said.
“I am appealing to other LGU executives in the areas of operation of 36IB to emulate the same act of courage in leading the fight against these menace in the country, the CPP-NPA terrorist (Communist Party of the Philippines),” Diagmel said.
Meanwhile, Pichay said fighting the government “is not the solution to bring progress and development in Cantilan town. Rebellion is not the solution. Rebellion is part of the problem that hinders development for our people.”
She also urged the former rebels to “live in peace and continue their schooling and become responsible members of the society.”
Capt. Jonald Romorosa, 36IB civil-military operations officer, said the four ex-NPAs surrendered after an encounter on May 11 in the hinterlands of Barangay Cabangahan, Cantilan town. (PNA)