CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – At least 66 members of the Militia ng Bayan (MB) and mass supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) surrendered to the government Friday in the Misamis Oriental town of Magsaysay.
The surrenders took an oath of allegiance during the mass surrender facilitated by the Community Support Program (CSP) team of the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) and Community Action (ComAct) Team of the Philippine National Police (PNP), barangay and municipal officials of Magsaysay, the 23IB said in a statement Saturday.
The surrenderers also denounced the CPP-NPA and the group’s political arm–the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)–and the communist rebel movement’s “terroristic activities that affected the lives of the residents and communities in Misamis Oriental,” 23IB said.
Magsaysay Mayor Rey Buhisan told the former rebels that the government is serious in its pursuit to attain “genuine peace and development.”
“Our government is serious in its mission of pursuing development in every community through ending the local communist armed conflict and with the convergence for peace and development program,” Buhisan said during the surrender ceremony.
“You are not doing this only for yourselves but also for the future of your children and for the next generation. We always wish to give you all a peaceful life apart from the CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists) who keep on exploiting and disturbing you,” the mayor added.
Lt. Col. Julius Cesar Paulo, 23IB commander, thanked the surrenderers for declaring their support to the government.
“We thank the former CNT members and supporters for trusting the government and bravely submitting themselves to the folds of the law. Our government is always willing to help you start a new beginning in order for you and your children to have a brighter future because you chose to stand in the right path,” Paulo said.
He also assured that the 23IB and various government agencies “are always ready to help and will remain sincere in providing support to the former rebels.”
“Let us give back to the government all the great plans they want for us by giving our support and by helping one another. We urge you not to be afraid of the CNTs and don’t believe in their deceptions who will just take advantage of your innocent vulnerabilities. They are just using socio-economic issues to agitate you to fight the government,” Paulo said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)