Due to hopelessness and frustration over unfulfilled promises, 13 members of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist, surrendered to the 53rd Infantry (Matapat) Battalion at Camp Major David P. Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga Del Sur last July 12, 2018.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Marlowe E. Patria, Commanding Officer of 53IB, most of these rebels are members of Section Committee “KARA” while some are security elements of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) operating in Zamboanga Peninsula. Three of them brought their firearms which includes: one (1) M1 Garand; one (1) Carbine; and one (1) calibre 45 pistol.
One of the surrenderees, Erica, a 28-year old resident of Dimataling, ZDS revealed why they opted to go back to the fold of law: “No support given to their family; constant physical, mental, and emotional weariness as well as hunger due to endless day and night movement that they have to endure to evade the military; disillusionment on the cause of the armed struggle; they want to give their children a brighter future; some of them heard from the radio about 53IB’s Peace Fellowship last June 29-July 1 with former rebels and their families; and government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).”
“Our units on the ground will relentlessly pursue localized negotiation for those Communist NPA Terrorist who are willing to go back to the folds of the law and live normal lives with their families. We will however, remain steadfast in neutralizing those who remain firm with their useless cause.”
Major General Roseller G. Murillo AFP
Commander, 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force ZamPeLan
Colonel Bagnus P. Gaerlan, the newly-installed Commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade with whom these surrenderors were presented said: “The surrender of these 13 rebels is a proof that the collective efforts exerted by 53IB and other military units in the Peninsula together with the different partner stakeholders especially the media were all significant in influencing them to abandon their armed struggle and return to the folds of the law”.
The 53IB will assist in facilitating the enrolment of these rebels to the E-CLIP program of the government and in acquiring their benefits under this program such as the livelihood assistance amounting to P50, 000.00, immediate cash assistance of P15, 000.00, firearms remuneration with the following variations: Garand – P30, 000.00; Carbine –P25, 000.00; and cal.45 P16, 000.00. Aside from the monetary assistance, they could also avail services from other government agencies such as phycho-social debriefing from DSWD; skills training from TESDA; employment and capacity building from the different institutions of the government, and security as guaranteed by the AFP and PNP.