NOLCOM, TARLAC – The Armed Forces of the Philippines reported yesterday that the New People’s Army (NPA) mass base in Northern and Central Luzon continues to weaken as its members and supporters have surrendered to the government.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) records showed that total of 301 NPA members returned back to the government from January to October this year.
In terms of weapons, about 93 assorted firearms were recovered and turned over to the government’s security forces during the series of mass surrenders.
“These unprecedented figures that we have recorded in our counter-insurgency efforts are tangible proofs that, indeed, it is just a matter of time before NPA terrorism is totally eradicated in this part of the country which will pave the way for the much coveted peace prosperity and development that every Filipino truly deserves,” NOLCOM Commander Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. stressed.
Burgos disclosed that a 17-year-old minor and two other members of Cagayan Valley Regional Party Committee in Isabela recently surrendered and turned-over a rifle and a pistol after a series of localized peace engagements.
Meanwhile, soldiers of the Army 5th Infantry Division recovered a firearm with magazine and ammunition during their focused military operations in Echague, Isabela.
In Ilocos Sur, a total of 12 members of the Communist Party of the Philippines Underground Mass Organization have formally withdree their support to the insurgency group during a ceremony presided by Burgos town Mayor Nathaniel Escobar.
With this, the commander reassured the steadfast commitment of NOLCOM as defenders of the north, guardians of sovereignty and protectors of the Filipino people.
“We will be unrelenting in our quest to liberate our people from the clutches of communist terrorism despite the additional challenges brought about by COVID-19 and the series of natural calamities we are facing,” said Burgos.
“Your soldiers are closely working hand in hand with the different local government units and government agencies to better serve our people under the banner of good governance,” he added.
Burgos bared that a total of 735 former rebels have benefited from more than P24 million worth of government assistance since 2016 under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
“About 388 of these former rebels were NPA regulars while the remaining 48 percent were local militias who were coerced to support the underground movement by threatening their safety as well as that of their families,” Burgos explained.
Under E-CLIP, qualified former rebels can avail up to P700,000 worth of government grants to help them lead more peaceful lives.