By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – At least 16 former communist guerillas that yielded to authorities in Magpet, North Cotabato were given cash assistance by the local government, an Army official said.
Lt. Col. Elrick Noel Paraso, commander of the 19th Infantry Battalion, said the rebels yielded to them in March 2018, and it was only during the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) meeting that the cash assistance was handed to them.
Each surrenderee received P5,000 cash and a sack of rice, Paraso said.
It was Magpet Mayor Florenito Gonzaga that handed the cash and rice to each former NPA member.
Gonzaga, during the MPOC meeting held two days ago, told the surrenderees that the assistance was government’s way of helping them “pick up the shattered pieces” while they are now threading “a new path” in their lives.
The surrenderees were all residents of Magpet, reports said.
When the 19th IB intensified its campaign to entice members of the NPAs and their “masses” or their support groups in the grassroots to leave the guerilla movement and go back to the mainstream society, the 16 rebels were among those that had quickly responded to the call, said Paraso.
“At this time, we are inviting other NPA guerillas still hiding in the hinterlands to give up the fight and start living a peaceful life in the town center or wherever,” Paraso said in an interview over Catholic-ran DXND.