45 NPA rebels, supporters in Bicol pledge allegiance to gov’t

A total of 45 members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) and their supporters in the province of Albay surrendered to the authorities and pledged allegiance to the national government on Tuesday. In a belated report on Thursday, Lt. Col. Malu Calubaquib, Police Regional Office-Bicol (PRO5) spokesperson, said the surrenderers were either armed group fighters or members of underground movements under the different sectoral front organizations of the CPP-NPA. "They voluntarily surrendered to the soldiers and police as a sign of their abandonment of the fraudulent and selfish organization. Among those who surrendered are three regular members of Sub-Regional Committee 5, Bicol Regional Party Committee, and the rest are the Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members," Calubaquib said. "They also surrendered two M16 rifles and one .45 caliber (handgun)," she added. Calubaquib said the surrenderers were accepted by different units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army at the Oas tennis court in Barangay Ilaor Sur, Oas town. She relayed that according to the returnees, they were just waiting for an opportunity to go to the authorities after having realized the senselessness of their armed struggle. "This surrender of NPA members indicates the gradual weakening of their forces. The Philippine National Police-Bicol, the Philippine Army, and other branches of the government will continue to work together to dismantle and completely end the evil caused by the rebel group. The NPAs are known for launching offensive activities against the government and even innocent civilians. They are also responsible for extorting (from) businessmen in the region," she added. Calubaquib said those who surrendered would be given a new opportunity to change their lives under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). "The E-CLIP is a government program that aims to help our brothers and sisters who are members of the CPP-NPA and People's Militia who wa nt to return to the government and community so that they can be with their families again. Through this, they will be given a variety of help, knowledge, and skills that they can use to change their lives," she said. Source: Philippines News agency