Alleged NPA surrenderee claims students recruited through threats
An alleged member of the New People's Army (NPA) who surrendered to authorities claimed university students who visited their areas were later recruited through threats.
The former NPA member, who came from the Dumagat tribe, was presented with 19 surrenderees in Camp Crame on Monday.
"The students who said to came from UP (University of the Philippines) visits us. They are asking if we live in comfort or not," a certain Ka Ruben said during a press briefing.
Ka Ruben said some students who went to their areas are being threatened to join the New People's Army.
He said there is a NPA intelligence officer who recruits students to conduct voluntary immersion in rebel areas.
"They are threatening the student so that it will join because of fear. That's what they are doing, scaring and not allowing them to go back to town," he added.
He said around 7 to 8 students visited their homes for immersion.
Chief Superintendent Edward Carranza, Calabarzon police director, said he is convinced by the information given by the surrenderees, citing an incident in Batangas, that students were killed in an encounter by government forces against rebels.
"I am convinced that it's true and they have the firsthand information. The word here is immersing so whether they will stay there or what but it's not within part of (their) curriculum," Carranza said.
"It is voluntary on the part of the students because their mind were poisoned and we also have historical data on who among CPP officers were former students in those universities," he added.
In his statement, Carranza said students from University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines were visiting Sitio Pulot, Sitio Magololon and Sitio Balay Kahoy of Brgy. San Antonio, Kalayaan Laguna and Dumagats were providing provisions or rations to rebels twice or thrice a week.
"(It's) part of their immersion for them to see living in the mountains then later on we also have report that once they are up there they share information that they were not allowed to go down because they are already targetted by the military and police," he explained.
The two state-universities are known for having lot of groups who opposed the government through protest.
Carranza said the police got the trust of the Dumagat tribe since there are no more reported abuse by the authorities.
"With the marching order of president (Rodrigo Duterte) for a localized peace talks and also (DILG) Sec. (Eduardo) Ano, we started going to the mountains. This is part of the regional intelligence effort to start getting to the issues of the Dumagat tribe," Carranza said.
"Slowly we win them (over). Why? Because there are no more abuse from police and military now unlike before that is there sentiment," he added.
Carranza said they are investigating who are the rebel recruiters.
"We continue on our project to identify these people. We have this project to guard schools since there are front organization groups who encourage students to join them," he said.
Last January 11, these 19 NPA members from Dumagat tribe surrendered to authorities in Laguna while another one surrendered the next day.
They are the chief and members of Samahang Dumagat, an ethnic group based in mountainous range of Laguna, Rizal and Quezon.
They also surrendered their firearms, grenades and ammunition.
Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde welcomed the return of 20 rebels and assured them of state-guaranteed liberty to lead normal lives with their families and possibly benefit from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
"It is (a) very good move and wise decision on their part because they finally see that what they are fighting for is going no where and they also don't know who they are fighting for," he said.
"The president is very generous towards our surrenderees. In other regions in fact he even give housing especially if they surrendered their firearms. Aside from the cash equivalent to their firearms, they will also be given livelihood before they integrate in the society," Albayalde said.
According to the PNP chief, firearms are worth around P100,000.
Albayalde aaid the local government of Laguna also pledged an additional P15,000 each for all the surrenderees also minimum of P50,000 for another livelihood. Ella Dionisio/DMS