Two officers of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) have surrendered to the military in San Fernando, Bukidnon last week to start a peaceful life with government assistance, the Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division (10ID) revealed on Sunday.
Paulette Castillo (alias Ella), regional coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), and Lita Gallo (alias Nancy), liaison, finance and logistics officer of Haran Center, surrendered to the 89th Infantry Battalion (89IB) in Sitio Balakayo, Barangay Kalagangan, on July 1.
“The surrender was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Alpha Company, 89IB,” the Army statement read.
Lt. Col. Donald Gaffud, commander of the 89IB, lauded the two for their courage in abandoning the armed struggle.
“I am appealing to the remaining CTG personalities to come down and embrace the government’s program under Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) which offers opportunities for you to start living peacefully and be reunited with your families,” he said.
E-CLIP aims to help members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and Militia ng Bayan restore their allegiance to the Philippine government.
Militia ng Bayan members are not directly involved in the armed struggle but still help CTGs in other ways, like recruitment. They are trained in using firearms and explosive devices.
Through the program, CTG members can be reintegrated back to the community and rejoin their families.
Gaffud said aggressive implementation of various government programs, together with the different government agencies and other stakeholders through Executive Order (EO) 70, encourage more surrenderers and will eventually clear communities on insurgency.
EO 70, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2018, created the National Task Force to End Local Communist that institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in obtaining exclusive and sustainable peace-giving as an effective solution against communist-terrorists.
Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., 10ID commander, likewise commended the leadership of the 89IB.
“The surrender of Ella and Nancy is one of the remarkable achievements of the line units under 10th Infantry Agila Division that proves the commitment of the government to help those who were deceived by CPP-NPA-NDF go back to the folds of the law. Rest assured that 10ID will provide the necessary assistance while government agencies are providing interventions for you to have a new life and decent source of living,” he said also in a statement.