The provincial government of Bukidnon and the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division officially welcomed 30 former rebels (FRs), who used to be members and leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front.
They were subsequently reunited with their respective families during the 403rd Infantry Brigade’s press conference on Oct. 12, 2021, at Camp Osito D. Bahian, Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
The said FRs who surrendered to the 8th Infantry Battalion, 88th Infantry Battalion and 43rd Military Intelligence Company (43MICO) that are under the operational control of the 403rd Brigade were presented to Bukidon Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. as a symbolic acceptance for the official reintegration of the FRs back to peaceful lives in the province.
Also in attendance during the activity were Maj. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., Commander of 4ID; Brig. Gen. Ferdinand T. Barandon, Commander of 403rd Brigade, Raymund D. Lopez, Assistant Regional Director of National Intelligence Coordinating Agency 10 (NICA10); Police Lt. Col. Daryl Aramton, Police Provincial Office of Bukidnon; Charmaigne Tadlas, Capability and Development Officer of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 10; and 403rd Bde’s Deputy Brigade Commander, Col. Jose Arn M. Real, together with the Battalion Commanders of 8IB, 88IB and 1st Special Forces Battalion.
Barandon disclosed that the FRs who are all from Bukidnon surrendered out of fear for their lives and brought along different calibers of 22 high-powered firearms and three low-powered firearms.
“Six high-value individuals were among the surrenderers who led their members to give up the armed struggle as they realized the sincerity of the government. The CTG (communist terrorist groups) have led them to extreme exhaustion all while running from the relentless military operations of the government troops. As such, we welcome them with open arms and commitment as we guide and assist them in peacefully transitioning into the mainstream society,” Barandon said.
Meanwhile, Zubiri pledged to build 200 houses for the FRs in Bukidnon, wherein the 30 FRs are included as among the beneficiaries, as his commitment to provide better opportunities for them and continue to inspire remaining CTG members to surrender.
During the activity, the FRs were given P25,000 each by the provincial government of Bukidnon, as well as a hygiene kit, a sack of rice, and a carton of food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 10 (Northern Mindanao).
Likewise, Zubiri pledged an additional P25,000 for each of the 30 FRs as financial assistance of the provincial government of Bukidnon.
Since 2016, a total of 1,419 FRs have already received financial assistance package and other benefits from different government agencies under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in the 4ID’s AOR, while in the 403rd Brigade AOR alone, 548 FRs already received their E-CLIP benefits and 361 are still for funding.
In a statement, Brawner thanked the FRs for voluntarily returning to peaceful lives and reuniting with their families.
He highlighted the capture of more than 1,000 sticks of dynamites that can be used to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which were voluntarily divulged by a recent surrenderer.