PRESS RELEASE I Maasim, Sarangani Province (October 30, 2020) – POLICE and local government authorities here presented a batch of 31 former hardcore NPA guerrillas of the MAKIMA-based (Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum) CPP-NPA Front 73 on Wednesday, October 28.
The group of former rebels was welcomed by Brigadier General Michael John F. Duria, Police Director for Central Mindanao Region; Maasim town Mayor Zyrex C. Pacquiao, Sarangani Police Provincial Director, PCol. Michael F. Lebanan, representatives from various government-line agencies, and other police and AFP ranking officials in a simple yet formal acceptance ceremony that was highlighted in accordance with the government’s “End Local Communist and Armed Conflict” or ELCAC program.
Dubria said the fresh set of surrenderees lifted the recent number of more or less 260 former New People’s Army insurgents that earlier returned to the folds of the law, bringing along with them an assortment of several hundred firearms, explosives, ammunition and subversive documents.
He said the consistent thrust of law enforcers to maintain law and order even in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, has not only given the chance to the ex-members of the communist armed group to avail the government beneficial support, but likewise the opportunity to enjoy the right to live as a common tao and productive members of the society.
The 33 year-old amazon, Evelyn (not her real name), who is a mother of 3 young siblings said – “Sobra-sobra na gyud ang kalisud sa among kahimtang ug kahadlok sa bukid mao nga nidisisyon me pagbalik sa sabakan sa atong gobyerno. Mao, nga karon pa lang namatikdan na gyud nako ug sa akong bana (also a returnee) ang mamahimong kaayuhan sa among kinabuhi. (We had suffered too much in the mountain, same as to our fear that make us to decide to return to the government. Thus, as of now, I and my husband have already felt the would be changes in our lives).
“The government will provide you the assistance you need to enhance your learning and technical skills through proper training, including fair and honest protection upon your return. That, as long as you have not committed serious crimes and will push through on your pledge to be by now a law abiding citizen of our nation,” Duria told the returnees in a vernacular.
Mayor Pacquaio, who also initiated the surrender by campaigning the reconciliation process of the government, too committed the assistance that the LGU could provide, in a bid to put a dot against insurgency movement in his AOR.
Meanwhile, Congressman Ruel D. Pacquiao, through representative Ms. Adeline Jalagpas, likewise distributed rice, food packs and different kinds of aid through the “Ronda sa Probinsiya Program.”
This includes the call for those who would like to avail the provision of educational support through the Congressional Office scholarship grants and – TESDA, or the government-run Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. (BY ISAGANI PALMA/With photos by Geb Galindez of The Southern Review/ PRO-12 PNP PRESS CORPS)