Part-time rebels surrender in Abra

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BAGUIO CITY (July 5, 2021) —Two part-time rebels popularly known as “milisyang bayan” surrendered Sunday following intensive military operations and Community Support Program (CSP) efforts of the Philippine Army’s 71st Infantry Battalion at Sitio Likowan, Brgy. Amtuagan, Tubo, Abra.

Lieutenant Colonel Sonny Gonzales, chief of the Armyd unit said “Fred” and “Gino” surrendered voluntarily along with one M653 rifle with one short magazine loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, and one M1 Garand rifle with one clip loaded with seven (7) rounds of ammunition.

The two,  who are brothers, revealed that they belong to the Maeng tribe in Abra.

“The snowballin surrender of NPA’s Milisyang Bayan and the withdrawal of support of former members of the underground mass organizations (UGMO) in Abra are the ‘new normal’ as we, together with the LGUs, are working hand-in-hand to encourage the remaining supporters to sever ties with the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) and live peacefully and harmoniously with their families.

Hinihikayat po namin ang ating mga kababayan na makipagtulungan at hikayatin ang mga nasa kaliwang grupo na bumalik na at makipagtulungan sa ating gobyerno. Tayo ay magkaisa tungo sa isang makabuluhang pagkamit ng tunay na kapayapaan,” LTC Gonzales said.

“Fred” thanked the troops for enlightening them through their dialogues and information drives during CSP team’s immersion in the barangays.  “Dahil po sa kulang kami sa kaalaman, kami po ay madali nilang nalinlang at napaniwala na pinaglalaban nila ang aming mga karapatan. Yun pala ay gagamitin lang nila kami sa kanilang pakikibaka laban sa gobyerno,” “Fred”said.

Major General Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of the 7th Infantry Division welcomed the surrender of the brothers while assuring them that they will be given the opportunity to live in peace without the threat from the NPAs.

He also underscored the massive exploitation of the NPAs among the IPs in Abra, “using their issues to lure them in joining the armed struggle.”  “Kaawa-awa ang ating mga IP dahil sila kadalasan ang biktima ng mga panlilinlang ng teroristang grupo.

Kaya naman kami ay lubos na nagpapasalamat at naliwanagan ang inyong kaisipan na ang paggamit ng armas at pagpatay sa kapwa Pilipino ay hindi ang paraan upang makamit ang tunay na pag-unlad ng ating bayan,” Rosario Jr. said.

The two will be enrolled to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and will receive immediate assistance and firearms remuneration for the two surrendered firearms.

Artemio A. Dumlao