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Surrender now, Panelo tells NPA

Salvador Panelo
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo

MANILA – Surrender to government authorities and reintegrate into mainstream society, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Saturday urged fighters of the communists’ armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Kinu-konsidera po ng military na ang communist insurgency, talagang ito ay mataas ang panganib internally sa national security kaya masigasig din silang lipulin ang mga ito (The military considers communist insurgency as a threat to national security. That’s why it is determined to wipe communists out),” Panelo said in his commentary show “Counterpoint.”

He said NPA guerillas could only escape punishment if they turn themselves in and avail of the government’s reintegration program.

“Iyan daw mga NPA, accountable sila, kailangan sagutin nila lahat ng krimeng ginagawa nila (NPA rebels are accountable for the crimes they committed),” he said. “Ngayon, sumuko na kayo para matapos na ang problema niyo (Surrender now to end your problems).”

Panelo made the call after two units of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) received a monetary reward of PHP9 million from President Rodrigo Dutete for neutralizing some high-ranking NPA leaders.

About PHP7 million of the PHP9 million were given to units under the Eastmincom while the remaining PHP2 million was received by a unit under the Western Mindanao Command.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said Duterte gave the reward, as the Chief Executive always monitors the activities of military personnel to ensure the “attainment of sustainable peace and development” and acknowledge their efforts.

Panelo warned NPA rebels that the government would be relentless in ending the communist armed conflict.

“Pagdating ng panahon, hindi maaaring takasan ‘yung mga kasalanan, mga ginawang krimen. Darating at darating ang araw na pananagutan ninyo ang inyong mga karumal-dumal na krimen (Time will come when you won’t be able to escape for the crimes you did. Time will come when you will need to pay for the heinous crimes you committed),” he said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

On May 29, 2018, the Department of National Defense issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) directing Task Force “Balik Loob” to enforce the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), the government’s program for former rebels.

Under E-CLIP, former rebels can avail of PHP15,000 worth of immediate assistance, PHP21,000 to defray the subsistence or meal costs, support to relocate and secure their family, PHP50,000 livelihood assistance, temporary shelter, PhilHealth enrolment, medical assistance, housing assistance, modified conditional cash transfer, legal assistance, and livelihood assistance.

by Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
(PNA)