MANILA — Aside from having a chance to live peacefully with their families and loved ones, more members of the New People’s Army (NPA) are voluntarily surrendering to avail of the economic amelioration package being offered by the government.
This was disclosed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo in an interview Sunday, noting that they have learned this through interviews with surrendered rebels.
Other factors forcing the communist rebels to surrender are constant military pressure and fatigue from incessant hiding and senseless fighting, he pointed out.
“And then meron tayong mga surrender at saka mga economic amelioration packages na ibinibigay para sa mga nagsu-surrender so bottomline by (surrendering) they don’t just avoid yung possible neutralization sa mga encounters with government forces, mas makikita pa nila nagkaroon sila ng pagkakataon (to) be with their families and meron talagang opportunity para magbagong buhay kasi may mgaeconomic package na nakukuha sila na matutulungan talaga sila na magsimula ng panibagong buhay,” Arevalo added.
From Jan. 1 to 29, military records revealed that 310 NPA rebels surrendered in various parts of the country, while the remaining 16 voluntarily turned themselves in from Jan 30 to 31.
“The unprecedented number of surrenders is attributed to the call of President and AFP Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte on the rebels, as well as the hardship and sense of betrayal experienced by the returnees in staying with the NPA,” AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia said.
One of the notable surrenderees is Gemma Quiroga, 35, of Davao Oriental who surrendered to the 28th Infantry Battalion last Jan. 27.
Garcia said Quiroga was a squad medic of the NPA operating in Davao Oriental designated as chair of ANAKPAWIS, a known leftist organization, in Mati City.
“The AFP leadership congratulates its various units on the ground for the effective use of military pressure against the NPA, as well as in their humane treatment of the former rebels,” he added.
Garcia hopes the recent surrenders will encourage other rebels to lay down their arms, abandon violent extremism, and embrace the peaceful path towards.