By Francis Wakefield
Nine members of Milisyang Bayan (MB) and a Communist New People’s Army Terrorist Group (CNTG) member voluntarily surrendered to the military in Abra on Tuesday.
A military report disclosed that the 10 turned themselves into members of the Army’s 24th Infantry (Wildcat) Battalion at its Headquarters in Barangay Tagudtod, Lagangilang, Abra, at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The surrenderees turned in three M16 rifles with one magazine and one M14 rifle with one magazine to the 24IB.
The MB personalities claimed to have had enough of being used by the CNTG as a buffer against government forces. They also said that the endless extortion activities of the CNTGs in their barangays have only led to further suffering and poverty.
The CNTG, on the other hand, has been lying low for some time and has long realized that her comrades are fighting for a useless cause and they are only being made puppets by their power-hungry leaders.
She has also been looking for the perfect opportunity to surrender to the Army.
The peaceful surrender was made possible through the efforts of the 24th IB and the locals of Tubo. The surrenderees will be assisted to avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), where they will be given financial aid and livelihood trainings in preparation to their re-integration to the mainstream society.
Major General Felimon T. Santos, Jr., the Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, thanked the people of Tubo for trusting the Army. He said that the people’s cooperation is the key towards lasting peace.
Santos, at the same time, called on other CNTs to surrender and give the government a chance to give them better lives.
Brigadier General Henry A. Robinson, the Commander of the 702nd Infantry (Defender) Brigade, commended the Wildcats Troopers for the successful conduct of their Community Support Program (CSP) which is very instrumental to the surrender of the former rebels.
Lieutenant Colonel Jearie P. Faminial, the Commander of the 24th IB, assured the residents of Abra that the Army will always be ready to extend assistance and work with the communities to achieve peace and development in the province.
However, they will not tolerate those who terrorize the people and will do everything in their power to stop them.