By Martin Sadongdong
An alleged courier for the New People’s Army (NPA) “Milisyang Bayan” submitted himself to the military and police in Lopez, Quezon on Sunday.
In a statement Monday afternoon, Lieutenant Colonel Arnold Gasalatan, commander of the 85th Infantry Battalion (85ID), identified the surrenderee as Crispin Gonzalez, 59, an alleged militia of the NPA Platoon Southern Luzon, Sub-Regional Military Area 4B which is operating in Quezon province.
According to Gasalatan, Gonzalez yielded to the troops of the 85ID and local police at Sitio Taisan, Barangay San Francisco B.
Gasalatan said the surrenderee decided to return to the fold of the law upon seeing that his former comrades who surrendered ahead of him were already “living a peaceful life.”
“I was brainwashed by the NPAs with their propaganda. As Milisyang Bayan and an NPA courier, I collect food, logistics and money for them. I am tired,” Gonzalez was quoted as saying.
Gonzalez also turned over a carbine with eight ammunition, an improvised shotgun with four ammunition, 40 sets of NPA uniforms, 165 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, three cellphones and other enemy subversive documents to the security forces.
Colonel Norwyn Tolentino, commander of the 201st (Kabalikat) Brigade, which has operational jurisdiction over Quezon province, reiterated his call to the NPAs to return to the folds of the law.
“Come down, lay down your arms and we will help you start a new life with your family,” he said.
Since he surrendered, the military said Gonzalez will be able to avail of the benefits of the national government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.
Under this program, a former rebel will receive P15,000 immediate cash assistance, P50,000 livelihood assistance, firearms remuneration, and other access to government aid such as housing, loans, employment, medical and legal, and skills training among others, the military explained.
The surrenderee can also avail of educational benefits which may be extended to his or her immediate family members, the military added.