PARACELIS, Mountain Province – Nineteen active members and militia ng bayan supporters of the New Peoples Army (NPA) voluntarily surrendered to combined police and military authorities at Barangay Marat, here, recently.
Senior Superintendent Allen S. Ocden, Provincial Director of the Mountain Province Provincial Police Office, said that the returnees are composed of 2 active members of the NPA Frank guerrilla unit based in Gonzaga, Cagayan and 17 militia ng bayan supporters.
He said the mass surrender of the NPA members and supporters was made possible through the joint efforts of the negotiating teams of the Mountain Province Provincial Police Office and the 54th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in coordination with barangay officials of Saliok, Natonin, Mountain Province headed by Punong Barangay Enrique B. Banggolay.
The NPA members and supporters turned over to the personnel of the Paracelis Municipal Police Station led by Senior Inspector Nicholas Pablo Luna and Provincial Police Mobile Company 3 company commander Inspector Cornelio Alit Marawis, one Carbine rifle with two magazines loaded with 10 live ammunitions and one M-16 Armalite rifle with short magazine loaded with 5 live ammunitions.
Ocden claimed that the returnees were forced to abandon their armed struggle when they realized that their struggle was a waste of time, effort and resources, thus, they prefer to go back to mainstream society to enjoy a peaceful life.
Police and military authorities administered the oath of allegiance of the returnees to the government during simple ceremonies held in this town.
Ocden expressed his gratitude to all the members of the negotiating team who facilitated the peaceful surrender of the NPA active members and supporters, saying that police and military negotiators should be proactive in convincing more members of the communist movement to leave behind their ideology because it will not lead them to a better life in the future.
He encouraged the remaining active NPA members and their supporters to follow the footsteps of those who recently yielded to the police and military authorities because they will be able to enjoy peaceful lives in the communities where they desire to settle in the future.
The police official claimed it is encouraging to note that the returnees realized that what they are fighting for is unrealistic and that they were tired of hiding in the mountains of the Cordillera and neighboring regions, thus, they decided to go back to the mainstream society and enjoy the benefits of law-abiding citizens.
Ocden explained police and military personnel will continue their aggressive anti-insurgency operations in the province to neutral the presence of the communist rebels in remote villages that are considered as their strongholds for the residents in the said places to have peace of mind and sustain the productivity of their farms without fear of being harassed and intimidated for their livelihood activities.
Despite the influence of the rebels in remote villages in the province, Mountain Province remains to be one of the peaceful provinces in the country second to Batanes.