8 ex-rebels in Central Negros surrender through JLTF-ELCAC

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On Sunday, December 26, 2021, eight former rebels from Central Negros surrendered at the Headquarters of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) in Barangay Libas, Isabela town, through the Joint Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (JLTF-ELCAC) and Local Peace Engagement Cluster.

The event was graced by 303rd Brigade Commander Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, 62IB officer-in-charge executive officer Major Alenel Valles, and Lieutenant Colonels Roland Lavisto and Miguel Andeza, chiefs of police of the cities of Guihulngan and Canlaon, Negros Oriental.

JLTF-ELCAC and the 303rd Infantry Brigade gave the former rebels Christmas gifts and commodities.

The burning of the banner of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to formally renounce their support and affiliation from the group was the centerpiece of the event.

Candles were lit, a peace prayer was said, and white balloons were released to symbolize hope, peace, and unity among the Negrenses.

The Local Peace Engagement (LPE) is one of NTF-ELCAC’s 12 clusters, the multi-agency body established by Executive Order No. 70, often known as the “Whole-of-Nation Approach.”

Meanwhile, Pasaporte claimed in his message that the surrender of eight NPA members is a major blow to the Communist Terrorist Group.

“It contradicted their claims that more are joining their group and only indicate that the terrorist group had lost the support of the people in Negros Island,” he said.

Pasaporte went on to say that their return to the government represented the end of their enslavement to the NPAs’ exploitation, falsehoods, and deception.

More NPA members are expected to come out in the future, according to the Philippine Army in Negros Island, because they see no hope and have recognized that they were duped and sweet-talked by those who recruited them.

LPEs have had a substantial impact on the peace and security situation in villages in Central Negros where NPA terrorist members have returned to the fold of the law since its installation in 2019.

The LPE is a tool that allows the government to speak with residents in towns afflicted by armed conflict as well as directly engage rebels in a peaceful dialogue.

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