Exhaustion cause influx of NPA surrenders in Northern Luzon

A few days after the pronouncement of Sec. Hermogenes C. Esperon, NTF-ELCAC Vice-Chairperson, that the NPAs are tired of fighting, 11 NPA rebels from Northern and Central Luzon return to government fold along with eight firearms.

Eight of the rebel surrenders yielded to government troops on July 31, 2021 at Barangay Disulap, San Mariano, Isabela bringing with them four firearms: three M16 rifles; and one M1 Garand rifle. Meanwhile, on August 1, 2021, another three NPA rebels chose the path to peace: one from Barangay Ambagiw, Besao, Mountain Province, bringing along with him his Cal. .30 M1 Springfield rifle; and the other two from Barangay Amtuagan, Tubu, Abra who yielded three firearms: two M16 rifles; and one Springfield rifle.

Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr, the Commander of Northern Luzon Command, expressed that, “These NPA rebels are really tired of fighting. They are always on the run from the relentless focused military operations by government forces. They finally decided to give up their false cause to return to their respective families and live peaceful and progressive lives.”

“The government’s whole of nation approach has really gained its ground in Northern and Central Luzon. Social issues previously exploited by the NPA rebels are addressed responsively, while the communities are insulated from the influence of the terrorist group. As such, movements of the NPA rebels are constricted, giving them no other option but to lay down their arms and join mainstream society,” he added.

Lieutenant General Burgos emphasized that, “With a rate of two NPA rebels with one firearm returning to government fold everyday, it’s only a matter of time that NPAs in Northern and Central Luzon will be totally decimated.”

Lieutenant General Burgos ended his statement by reiterating his call to the remnants of the NPA rebels, saying that, “Don’t miss out the opportunity to be with your family and live a peaceful life. Your former comrades have taken the lead, and it is time for you to take yours. Avail the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or ECLIP while you still can.”

The recent rebel surrenders are in addition to the 491 NPA rebels who have already returned to the government fold along with 185 firearms since January 1, 2021.

The majority of these former rebels have already received their respective ECLIP grants. The government troops are currently assisting those who recently returned mainstream society to complete their requirements to avail said government program.

The government’s ECLIP offers immediate cash assistance amounting to 15,000, livelihood assistance amounting to 50,000, and remuneration for every firearm they bring along as they return to government fold. These are apart from other government agencies’ other incentives and benefits to the former rebels and their families.

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