CABANATUAN CITY, Jan.16 (PIA) -- A total of eight rebels voluntarily surrendered to security forces in Nueva Ecija Friday after a series of localized peace negotiations.
The group consists of five regular New People's Army members and three members of the Militia ng Bayan from different communist terrorist groups operating in Central and Southern Luzon.
Army 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Alfredo Rosario Jr. disclosed that they turned-over as well one M14 rifle with three magazines and 30 rounds of live ammunition, one M16 rifle with one magazine and nine rounds of live ammunition, and three Caliber .38 pistol.
Names of the returnees are being withheld as part of the security protocol being implemented to prevent possible retaliation that may be launched by their former comrades against them for turning their backs from the movement.
"This accomplishment is a result of a series of localized peace negotiations which soldiers and police have undertaken to encourage members of the communist terrorists, who are victims of the deception and lies of the communist terrorist group, to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law," Rosario said.
"The returnees will undergo debriefing and profiling as part of the enrollment process to the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which will entitle them to receive immediate cash assistance, livelihood assistance and firearms remuneration for their surrendered firearms," the official furthered.
For his part, Armed Forces of the Philippines Northern Luzon Command Commander Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. lauded the returnees for choosing the path of peace instead of conflict and for responding to the call of the government for social healing and reconciliation in order to attain peace in this part of the country.
"More members of the communist terrorists in Central and Northern Luzon are expected to abandon their armed struggle and return to the folds of the law due to loss of trust in their leaders and after witnessing the sincere gesture of the government to deliver basic services and address local issues in their community," Burgos added.
"You have seen the harsh reality of being part of the terrorist group, now is the time for you to heed the call of the government to abandon your armed struggle and return to the folds of the law. We assure you of your safety as the government opens its doors for you to have a peaceful and progressive life with your loved ones," the official told the rebels. (CLJD-PIA 3)