IMPASUGONG, Bukidnon -- One hundred eighteen supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists from the mountainous area in Barangay Bulonay, Impasugong, Bukidnon arrived at the main village, surrendered, and took allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on Thursday, July 5.
In an interview, Impasugong town mayor Anthony Uy said the surrendered NPA supporters narrated to him their frustrations with their leaders in the mountains.
“They said many benefits due them from their leaders never arrive. Hence, learning of the real livelihood being enjoyed by their former comrades who gave up months earlier, they decided to surrender,” the mayor said.
The surrenderees, Uy said, are now temporarily housed in Barangay Bulonay local government compound—kept under 8IB watch—while authorities are doing profile assessment.
Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Illana, Commanding Officer of 8th Infantry “Dependable” Battalion (8IB) believe that more mass-based supporters of the NPA terrorists would divulge identity and yield after seeing their former comrades now living in peace.
“They decided to come out of hiding and surrender after learning of the livelihood programs and other benefits that the government has in store for them,” Lt. Col. Illana said.
Authorities said the mass surrender started after an LGU-sponsored dialogue where various government agencies asked residents to present several issues evolving in communities and how can these be solved.
Gathered to lead the said dialogue are Impasugong municipal Mayor Anthony Uy, with Vice-mayor Norly Pepito, the town’s Budget Officer, Treasurer, Municipal Engineer and Physicians.
Likewise, various government agencies namely Municipal Department of Social Welfare and
Development Office; Assessor’s Office; Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office; Environment and Natural Resources Office; and Agriculture Office gathered to work as team during such dialogue.
“Our Community Support Program (CSP) teams learned that there are Milisyang Bayan and NPA terrorist supporters in the area. Through dialogues like this, communities will know what are the programs are and how the government can address issues that trigger recruitment of NPA terrorists in the hinterlands.” Lt. Col. Illana added.
Right after the day’s dialogue, supporters declared their loyalty to the government.
Major General Ronald Villanueva, Commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, meanwhile, said “The shift of support from NPA terrorists to the government, which is now happening in Impasugong, Bukidnon, proves that the residents finally realized that there are solutions to issues; that there is a government that looks after them. I urge these residents to defy deceits and ploys used by NPA terrorists just to press on their failed armed struggle. All they (NPA rebels) do is finding issues to cause people’s hate to the government. In addition, later, recruit members from your community. If you know someone that is still with the NPA terrorists, let them know that the government have programs for regular NPA who wish to abandon their armed struggle and be a productive member of society.”
In simple rites on same day, the surrendered NPA supporters stood up and burned down the CPP-NPA’s flag. (8IB, 4ID, PA/PIA Bukidnon)
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