Sun. Jul 25th, 2021

From being outlaws, sixteen members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) are now included in the skyrocketing number of Former Rebels (FRs) who abandoned the armed struggle to work hand in hand with the government in eradicating communist insurgency.

In a ceremony held at Tico Maristela Sports and Cultural Center in Aroroy, Masbate last July 6, the new batch of surrenderers were presented to the Aroroy Local Peace Engagement Team headed by Hon. Mayor Arturo Virtucio.

Seeing the hopeless and useless cause of the terrorist group that has endangered the lives of innocent civilians including their own families, the said surrenderers composed of three regular NPA members and 13 Militiang Bayan (MB) members yielded to the government last July 2.

They also brought with them assorted firearms, including a KG9 submachine gun which they symbolically turned-over to the committee during the event. Afterwards, the group took an oath of allegiance as a sign of their denouncement of CTG’s terrorism and false ideologies.

Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, Battalion Commander of 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) said the former rebels (FRs) will receive complete set of benefits upon finishing the process of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or BalikLoob.

Awichen added that they will also avail various programs from different government agencies on top of the E-CLIP which will grant them financial, livelihood, educational, medical, and housing assistance.

For his part, Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, underscored that the Army together with the PNP will continue its intensified security operations and peace initiatives until Masbate finally becomes an armed conflict-free province.

MajGen Henry Robinson rallied the public saying that the continuing success of the anti-insurgency effort in Masbate has not been the work of the government alone but its constituencies., we have the Masbateños to be thankful for.

“Had it not been for their overwhelming support, our campaigns will be futile. To the surrenderers, aside from the E-CLIP Committee, you also have the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) to assist you as you all start anew,” Robinson added.

Also in attendance were PCol. Joriz Cantoria, Provincial Director of Masbate Police Provincial Office and Mayor Arturo Virtucio Jr. of Aroroy.

It can be recalled that just last month, particularly from June 18-28, 505 CTG members and supporters returned to the folds of the law–the biggest number of surrenderer in Masbate weeks after the tragic death of Kieth and Nolven Absalon in the hands of ruthless communist terrorists. SPH/AQP

Surrendered armaments.

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