By Yas Ocampo
DAVAO CITY — More former rebels of the New People’s Army are headed to the Malacañang Palace to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte, with the Philippine Air Force transporting 241 surrenderees to Manila via two C-130 aircraft.The flights left the Francisco Bangoy International Airport Tuesday morning.
Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said most of the former rebels came from Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
The former rebels comprise the second batch of surrenderees, some 683 former NPA rebels and supporters coming from different parts of Eastern Mindanao.
The rebels were presented to the President last Dec. 21, 2017.
Part of their tour will be a historical and heritage trip to Luneta Park and Intramuros while a welcome ceremony will be held on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at Camp Aguinaldo to be hosted by General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, AFP Chief of Staff, Balagtey said.
Part of the program is a dialogue with former rebels on how to reintegrate into mainstream society.
The rebels will return to Davao City on Feb. 22.
The Office of the President will determine the schedule for the third batch of former rebels.
The first batch of 215 former rebels met the President in a visit last Feb. 6 to 8.
Meanwhile, 50 from the first batch enrolled in a technical-vocational education training with the Technical Skills Education Development Authority 11 as part of their social integration program.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr., Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command reiterated the willingness and openness of EMC to assist NPAs who are willing to surrender.
“We are committed and more than willing to accommodate NPAs who want to return to the folds of the law and take part in building a nation of peace for progress and development. The programs lined up for the 683 FRs and the community programs being implemented in the different communities are manifestations of the social economic reforms being implemented by the government.” Lt. Gen. Madrigal Jr. said.