Eight former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who voluntarily surrendered to the 16th Infantry Battalion will undergo “de-radicalization” programs to prevent them from being lured by communist ideologies again.
This was according to Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (10ID), who underscored the process of de-radicalization in preparing the surrenderees to return to a peaceful life.
If they do not undergo the process, Clement cautioned that the former NPA rebels can be vulnerable again to NPA recruitment “because they are still young.”
Clement presented the surrenderers to Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday on the sidelines of the turnover of command at the 16th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Barangay Dalisay here.
The surrenderees are former members of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command (PBC) 1 operating in Davao City areas, who turned themselves in to authorities separately, Clement said.
One of the surrenderees, 23-year old Quintoy of Lumiad, Paquibato District, Davao City, said he abandoned the communist struggle after facing a difficult life with the NPA. For instance, he said finding daily food was a constant struggle.
Another surrenderee, Alfie, who is 30 years old, said he was a political instructor of the NPA.
Alfie said he was operating in the white area (urban center) facilitating rallies before he was finally convinced to join the NPA at 26.
Brig Gen Ernesto Torres, the commander of the Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade, said there are now 172 NPA members who surrendered to different units under his brigade within the year. Of the number, 87 were regular members of the NPA.
Aside from undergoing the de-radicalization process, Quintoy, Alfie, and the six other surrenderers were debriefed, and are undergoing skills and livelihood training. They are now completing the processes to avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (e-CLIP), for which they will get PHP50,000 for livelihood and another PHP15,000 in immediate assistance.
Mayor Sara was elated many rebels have decided to come down and support the government.
The mayor said many surrenderees also came to her directly to surrender but she referred them instead to the Army battalions for faster processing of their livelihood assistance and training.
In photo: Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte talks to three of the eight former New People’ Army rebels who surrendered to the government. The surrenderees were presented to the mayor in a press conference at the 16th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Barangay Dalisay, Panabo City on Monday. (Photo by Lilian Mellejor/PNA)