Thirty-two hardcore red fighters of the communist New People’s Army celebrated their freedom today, on the same day that the local communist movement commemorates its 52nd founding anniversary.
The Philippine National Police welcomed back to the fold of the law the 32 red fighters of the CPP-NPA-NDF from Agusan del Norte composed of squad leaders, militia ng bayan and mass supporters of the CPP-NPA in the different areas of Agusan del Norte.
During formal surrender rites in Butuan City, the rebel returnees turned-in an assortment of weapons and instruments of violence including a submachinegun, an M14 rifle, 11 12guage shotguns, and six handguns. Police Brig Gen Romeo Caramat Jr, PNP Regional Director in the Caraga region, formally accepted the surrender.
During the ceremony, the rebel returnees burned the hammer and sickle flag of the CPP-NPA in symbolic gesture of total turnaround from the communist ideology.
They also took their solemn oath of allegiance to the flag of the Republic of the Philippines.
PNP Chief, Police General Debold M Sinas said the the surrender of 32 red fighters is a “significant development in the ongoing efforts of the PNP to promote the localized peace advocacy of government thru the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).”
The Chief PNP instructed Caramat to facilitate the grant of government benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to the 32 rebel returnees.
Sinas earlier announced continuing police operations against the local communist insurgency after the national government rejected a holiday truce with the CPP-NPA-NDF. However, Sinas said the PNP will extend safe conduct to rebels who will peacefully come down from the hills to join their families for the holidays.
“WE welcome CPP-NPA members who will heed our call to return to the folds of the law and join the mainstream of society as free and empowered citizens, the Chief PNP said.
A spokesman for the group, a certain “Justin”, said many more of their comrades are distressed and starving in the hills and also wanted to come down and lead normal lives with their own families.
“Justin” said they were enticed to join the armed struggle in exchange for helping their families, but later realized that none of their promises ever materialized. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE