Four Rebels Yield In Southern PhilippinesApril 17, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment
PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 17, 2008) – Four communist insurgents surrendered to the military in the southern Philippines after a series of negotiations, officials said Thursday.
Officials said the insurgents, who are members of the New People’s Army (NPA), yielded four automatic rifles and a grenade launcher Tuesday in the village of Mitugas in Misamis Occidental’s Tudela town.
The four, including a rebel leader Unrico Simbulan, surrendered to the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Nehemias Pajarito.
Officials said the surrender was part of a government program called Balik-Baril which means “Bring a Rifle Improve your Livelihood.”
Those who surrender also undergo livelihood training of their choice. The amnesty program, which started in the early 1990s, aims to convince the rebels to abandon their armed struggle and return to the fold of the law.
The government pays as much as P25, 000 for weapons surrendered by rebels, aside from at least P18,000 in initial aid, for them to start a new life.
Lt. Col. Emmanuel Sison, commander of the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion, said harsh life in the mountains and ongoing government operations against the NPA forced the insurgents surrender.
“The NPA members decided to lay down their arms because of the hardships they are experiencing in the mountains. They have been on the run with the relentless combat operations against them for many years and the promise of better life has not been realized ever since.”
“Their mass bases are no longer supportive to their cause because of the massive information campaign of the government against them. They are further demoralized since they had learned that their leaders are living luxuriously in the cities while they live like wild animals in the jungles surviving on what ever they could forage and gather,” Sison said.
The NPA, military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF), is fighting for nearly four decades now to topple the government and install a Maoist state in the country.
The United States and the European Union blacklisted the CPP and NPA, including its political wing, the NDF, on Manila’s prodding and froze their assets abroad.
Just this week, military officials announced the capture of six rebel camps in the southern province of Compostela Valley where troops had recovered explosives and munitions. The bases were so far the largest that troops have captured this year. (Mindanao Examiner)