Benguet PPO Director PCol. Elmer Ragay, Police Regional Office – Cordillera Deputy Regional Director for Operations PCol. John Chua and Department of the Interior and Local Governemnt -Benguet Director Rufina Fegcan presented “Ka Rebo” and “Ka Kababayan” who returned back to the folds of the law thru the programs of the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
“Ka Rebo” was an active member of the New People’s Army who became a team leader under the Kilusang Larangan Guerilla (KLG) BAGGAS operating in the areas of Upper Tabuk, Lubuagan and Tanudan in Kalinga and eventually moving to the KLG AMPIS operating in Tubo in Abra, Tadian in Mountain Province and Quirino in Ilocos Sur. He turned over a caliber 45 pistol.
“Ka Kabayan” who was also a team leader under the KLG MARCO operating in the areas of Mountain Province particularly in Sadanga and Bontoc. He also turned over an M14 rifle.
The two said that they decided to surrender due to the hardships, hunger and exhaustion they experienced in the hinterlands of the Cordilleras.
“We decided to go down the mountains and surrender since we have been experiencing hardships and hunger. We are exposed to various elements such as mosquitoes, the heat of the sun and also being soaked under the rain. Life in the mountains being a rebel is very hard,” Ka Rebo said in the vernacular.
Ragay said the two were encouraged by their former comrades who have earlier surrendered. He added they are among the four rebels who surrendered this month.
The surrender of the two rebels was thru the efforts of the Regional and Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, the Benguet PPO, PRO-Cor, Armed Forces of the Philippines, NICA and the different barangay and municipal local government units.
Fegcan thanked the rebel returnees for returning back to the folds of the law and doing it in time for the 33rd Foundation Day celebration of the Cordillera Administrative Region on July 15.
“We are celebrating the Cordillera Day meaningfully because we have our brothers from the mountains who are coming down and leaving their old ways and now they are back to the mainstream society,” Fegcan said.
Chua said the recent surrender of the rebels in the different provinces of the Cordillera shows the efficiency of ELCAC or the whole-of-a-nation approach against the communist terrorist groups in the region.
This is one of the effects of the recent surrender to the government of Anne Margarette Tauli, an alleged high ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The rebels are affected and now they are surrendering to government forces, he said.
The rebel returnees will be processed under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in order to receive welfare assistance, livelihood assistance, and incentives for the surrendered firearms. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)
By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis