Joint Task Force Bicolandia harvested two groups of former rebels last week which are now candidates for validation processing for the Balik-Loob Program.
On Tuesday, May 4, fifteen (15) communist terrorists surrendered in Barangay Milagros to 903rd Infantry Brigade, 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB), 96th MICO at the Regional Office 5 (PRO5) of the Philippine National Police, eight (8) of whom were regular members of the New People’s Army (NPA) while seven (7) were from the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL).
Turned-over were nine (9) different gun calibers like M16 rifle, AR15 rifle, homemade carbine, four homemade shotgun, caliber .38 revolver at caliber 357 revolver. The former rebels said they were exhausted from hardship, hunger and abuses by of their superiors.
Ka Dennis, who acted as the first group’s spokesman, said they were thankful to the military and policemen who facilitated their safe surrender towards a new beginning.
Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, battalion commander ng 2IB thanked the surrenderers for making a life-changing decision of abandoning the terrorist group. He added that the former rebels will immediately undergo a processing stage before their enrollment in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) or Balik-Loob Program.
After seeing how the lives of their former comrades changed upon returning to the folds of the law, more members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in Masbate decided to yield in the government.
On Thursday, May 6, eight Militiang Bayan members yielded to the elements of 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) who were conducting security operations in Barangay San Isidro, Palanas.
Also turned in by the group were four different firearms, such as M16 rifle, homemade shotgun, six caliber .38 revolvers, three caliber .357 pistols and assorted ammunition.
Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander ng 903rd Infantry Brigade emphasized that the continuous surrenders of members and supporters of the CPP-NPA-NDF serves as a strong sign of demoralization among the rebel ranks whose leaders have chosen to live abroad in relative comfort, away from the battleground.
“Napakarami ng sumuko at bumuti ang buhay. Nakita ng mga dating rebelde na ito na tapat ang gobyerno sa pangako nitong tulungan ang mga nagbabalik-loob na CTG members at supporters kaya mas maraming nae-engganyong talikuran at abandonahin ang kilusan,” ani Col. Almase.
Meanwhile, Maj General Henry Robinson Jr. commander ng Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB), said the steady flow of surrenders proves the effectivity of Executive Order No. 70 (EO 70) o ang Whole-of-Nation Approach that created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and of Administrative Order No. 10 providing for the ECLIP or Balik-Loob Program.
“Through our E-CLIP, we will ensure that you, our former rebels, will be provided with cash, livelihood, housing, medical and even educational assistance in order for you to start anew as you take the path of peace.
“Kaya naman hinihikayat ko ang patuloy na suporta ng ating mga former rebels sa aming mga programang pangkapayapaan. With these accomplishments, the 9ID and JTF Bicolandia is very positive that the CTG will eventually collapse in this island province sooner than later,” adds MGen. Robinson.