Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo received at the Capitol yesterday four former members of the New People’s Army who voluntarily surrendered to the Philippine Army.
Col. Allan Martin, commander of the 302 nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, led other Army officials in escorting the former rebels to meet with Degamo.
Degamo received them warmly, and thanked them for showing their trust in the constitutional government by leaving the insurgency and returning to the mainstream society.
He assured them of financial assistance, after they have undergone proper documentation and procedures to qualify them for the Comprehensive Livelihood Integration Program, that is designed to allow them to start a new life.
Lt. Col. Harold Anthony Pascua, commander of the 79 th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Siaton, Negros Oriental, said this is the first batch of former NPA members to avail of government services.
The four, whose names and other information are being withheld for security reasons, include a male, a female, and a couple who brought along with them a toddler, who are from southern Negros Oriental.
They will be under the custody of the 79 th IB while the Department of Social Welfare provincial office will begin their documentation, Martin said, adding that the latest surrender is an indication that many members of the rebel movement are now getting tired of the hard life in the mountains.*JFP