By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – Ten heavily armed Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) voluntarily surrendered to the Peace and Development Team and Community Support Team (PDT, CST) of “Bravo Company” of the Army’s 75th Infantry (Marauder) Battallion (75th IB) in Cosep area, Barangay Bayugan 3, Rosario, Agusan del Sur province on Monday.
The rebel returnees were officially presented yesterday to Lt. Col. Jaime R. Datuin, commanding officer of the 75th IB. They surrendered seven high powered firearms including handguns and assorted live ammunition,
Datuin said they were former Milisya ng Bayan (MB) members of Guerilla Front Committee 14 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEPRC).
He told the surrenderers that the government will assist them in their new way of life and also assured them of government support through livelihood, in relation to the E-CLIP program.
The rebel returnees will also receive immediate cash assistance, in exchange of their surrendered firearms through the government’s “Balik-Baril, Bayad-Agad” program, Datuin added.
The surrenderees are still under debriefing while preparation and documentation of their papers are also ongoing for their enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) or E-CLIP program.
“I urge other remaining CNTs who are still running in the mountains to come down now and avail themselves of the livelihood, peace and development program offered by the government,” Datuin said.
Meanwhile, at Camp Bancasi, in Butuan City, Maj. Gen. Ronald C. Villanueva, commanding general of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID) ordered all field unit commanders in the two regions in Mindanao to accept NPAs who wanted to return to their respective families to live a peaceful and productive life.
“I received reports that some NPA terrorists who are suffering a hard life in the mountains and are longing for their loved ones wanted to come down, connect with local government officials and return to the folds of the law, and my field units are ordered to accept them,” the 4th ID chief.
“Yes, we are re-iterating again to welcome them (NPAs) and live a peaceful life in the democratic form of the government,” Villanueva told The Manila Bulletin.