MANILA — Loreto, Agusan del Sur, a former stronghold of the New People’s Army (NPA), is now insurgency-free.
The military declared it free from rebels after officials welcomed 154 NPA members.
Some of the rebels were from nearby provinces but most of them were from the Monobo tribe.
A welcome ceremony was prepared for the rebels where they pledges allegiance to the government and sang the national anthem with their right hands over their hearts.
Among those in the gathering were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista, executive director of the Cabinet Cluster on Peace, Security and Justice.
The ceremony followed the two-day Peace Caravan where 3,000 residents were provided with goods and services.
The said caravan reflects the “whole of nation approach” in the government’s counterinsurgency program.
During the ceremony, a guerrilla leader also recalled how his entire family had to endure living in poverty while enduring the life in the mountains.
He said that their fight became a lost cause as they had no shelter and food.
He also added that surrendering to the government offered him and his family a better life.