More NPAs surrender in eastern Mindanao since Dec: official
More members of New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to government troops after December 21 of previous year, an Army commander from eastern Mindanao said on Wednesday.
“After December 21 up to this time many have also surrendered. So far they already reached 559, ” Col. Erwin Bernard Neri, commander of the Army’s 101st Brigade, told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo during the visit of the second batch of the rebel returnees at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters.
Neri said his brigade covers the eight municipalities of Compostela Valley, five municipalities of Davao del Norte and one municipality in Agusan del Sur.
The second batch which is composed of 238 rebel returnees is just part of the total of 683 rebels who surrendered before December 21last year.
“Of the 238 rebel returnees that we have now in Manila, 195 of them are male and 43 are females so he have brought a total of 238 here in Manila,” Neri said.
Neri said according to the former rebels, poverty and hardship are the number one reasons that made them return to the folds of the law.
“The first factor why they surrender is because their life as rebels is not easy and they miss their families and a lot of them were saying the leaders of the CPP-NPA have a lot of promises which they failed to fulfill,” he said.
Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia, AFP public affairs chief, said aside from attending the welcome ceremony hosted by AFP Chief of Staff Gen Rey Leonardo Guerrero in Camp Aguinaldo, the rebel returnees are set to visit the president in Malacanang.
Garcia said rebel returnees will be assisted by the Joint Task Force ? National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) during their tour of Luneta Park and Intramuros.
“The activity aims to give the former rebels a better perspective in life, particularly in peace building and nationalism as part of the government's continuing activity of reintegrating former rebels to mainstream society,” he said.
Garcia said “the second batch of former rebel’s tour is expected to conclude on February 22, 2018 while the schedule of the third batch will be determined later by the Appointments Office of the President.”
The first batch composed of 215 rebel returnees were toured in Manila and met Duterte in Malaca?ang last February 7, 2018. Robina Asido/DMS