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Rebel leader, 2 militiamen yield with guns in Isabela

A NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY  (NPA) team leader and two militia group members on Tuesday gave themselves up to Army soldiers and police and surrendered M-16 and M-14 Armalite rifles to the 95th Infantry Battalion in this town.

Lt. Colonel Gladiuz Calilan, 95th Infantry (Salaknib) Battalion commanding officer, said the rebel leader, whose name was withheld for security reason, was a team leader of the Central Front under the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya-Cagayan Valley in San Mariano.

He voluntarily turned himself in along with the two Militia ng Bayan members who also surrendered to the Community Support Program (CSP) Team of the Army and police.

Last Sept. 28, six other members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA with several high-powered firearms including an M-60 machine gun voluntarily surrendered to the 95th Infantry Battalion soldiers in this town.

“Indeed, this progress clearly shows that the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) members are losing not only their mass base support in the Municipality of San Mariano but also their regular members. The surrenderers will be enrolled to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government, for them to receive cash benefits and livelihood,” Calilan told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Laurence Mina, 502nd Infantry Brigade commander, said this series of surrenders of rebels with their firearms and other war materials “is a clear manifestation that the NPA rebels have lost the support from the masses who were awakened from the intimidation, coercion and manipulation of the group”.

He encouraged “the remaining rebels in Isabela to lay down their arms and avail of the programs offered by the government to start a new life with their family and for all Isabela villagers who are longing for a genuine and lasting peace in the province”. (By Villamor Visaya, Jr.)

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