More CTG surrenderees manifest positive response to end local communist conflict

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur, Jan. 29 (PIA)— “The increasing number of surrenderees is a great manifestation that the people can no longer be deceived by the CTG’s erroneous ideology and empty promises.”

This was the statement made by Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) and 9ID Commander MGEN Henry A. Robinson Jr., PA after 20 former rebels (FRs) recently surrendered to the 22nd Infantry Battalion (22IB) and the 9th Infantry (Spear) Division (9ID) in Sorsogon.

“Ito ay isang patunay na sila ay namumulat na sa katotohanan na ang inaasam nilang pagbabago ay makikita lamang sa pamamagitan ng pakikiisa sa ating gobyerno (This is a clear manifestation that they [CTG members] have finally realized that the much-needed change that they have been wishing for can only happen if they will unite and cooperate with the government),” Robinson added.

Sorsogon LGU welcomed the 20 former CTG members who surrendered their firearms when they were presented in the 903rd Infantry Brigade in Castilla town Sorsogon province, Wed. Jan.27.

In a press statement, Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) Spokesperson CPT John Paul Belleza said that out of the countless reasons to abandon the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG), what ignited the former rebels’ yearning to return to the folds of the law is the government’s sincerity.

“After hearing their testimonies, especially ‘Ka Peter’, I believe that our lost brothers have been deceived for so long, the reason why there is a strong resistance to accept the government’s offer of peace and unity. Yet after personally witnessing and experiencing the real situation and finally accepting the government’s sincerity to give them a peaceful life, they yielded their arms and return to the folds of law,” Belleza added.

It can be recalled that during the past months, more and more CTG members are abandoning their cause and decided to seek help from the government.

‘Ka Peter’, a former CTG member said that he was deceived by the terrorist group’s false accusations that is why he hesitated numerous times to go down.

“Hindi naman pala pinapatay at binabalatan ng buhay ang mga NPA kapag sumusuko. Maling-mali ang sinasabi sa amin ng aming mga lider dahil nakita ko ang dati naming mga kasamahan na NPA na nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan na naging maayos naman ang kanilang buhay at masayang kapiling ang kanilang pamilya, namuhay ng normal na walang iniisip na panganib, hindi kailangan gumising ng alanganing oras para lang maglipat ng base. Kaya ngayon, hindi po ako nagdalawang-isip na magbalik-loob sa gobyerno (It is not true that those NPA who surrendered were killed and skinned alive. It is a lie.  I saw some of our former comrades who decided to return to the folds of the law. They are now peacefully living with their families, leading a normal life without worrying of any danger that might befell them.  They don’t need to wake up in the early hours of the morning just to transfer their base. This is the reason why I took my chance and finally decided to return to the government.),” Ka Peter said.

‘Ka Peter’ and other surrenderees also expressed their gratitude to the Philippine Army and the government as a whole for helping them start a new and peaceful life.

“The said FRs, who will now undergo the process of reintegration to the mainstream society, were also given gift packs. Meanwhile, LTGEN Antonio G. Parlade Jr PA, Commander of Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) lauded the 9ID and its units for the persistent campaigns against the CTG and also recognized Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero’s good governance which, according to him, contributed significantly to the continuous snowballing of surrenderees in the province,” the press statement further noted.

MGEN Robinson also commended the persistence, commitment and passion of all the Spear Troopers especially the 903rd Infantry Brigade under BGen. Noe Alberto Peñafiel and the 22IB under Lt. Col. Nelson Mico which led to the said accomplishment. (LSMacatangay, with reports from CPTJPBelleza,DPAO 9ID-PIAV/Camarines Sur)