Friday, May 23, 2014

Diamond Troopers Welcome 97 NPA Returnees

From the Website of Philippine Army

Diamond Troopers Welcome 97 NPA Returnees

Panacan, Davao City - The Army’s 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division formally welcomed the 97 NPA returnees in a ceremony dubbed as “Pagbabalik Loob III” at the Provincial Capitol, Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur at around 9:00 a.m., May 21.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista was the Guest of Honor and Speaker accompanied by Eastern Mindanao Command Commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier G. Cruz III and 4th ID Chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya.

Thirty-three of them (including 2 women) are regular members of the NPA while 64 are members of the underground Barrio Revolutionary Committees or Militia ng Bayan. Three of whom are from Surigao del Sur while 94 are from Agusan del Sur. 70 of them are Indigenous People (lumad) mostly of Manobo tribe. 12 were recruited when they were still minors. The returnees will receive a total of Php 881,750.00 from the AFP’s Guns for Peace Program as remunerations for the 93 assorted high powered firearms they brought along with them.

For the record, the 4ID’s Pagbabalik Loob I, II and III helped 204 NPA with 201 assorted firearms return to the folds of the law safely. A total of 4.2 million pesos was released by the Eastern Mindanao Command taken from the AFP’s Guns for Peace Program fund. NPA returnees are also entitled to receive another cash and livelihood assistance from the OPAPP.

401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade Commander Colonel Gregory M. Cayetano said “We are very much happy to welcome these former rebels who have finally decided to return to the folds of the law. We are very thankful to them that they gave up their arms and start living a normal life back to their loved ones and families”.

Gen. Visaya said, “We are thankful that these former rebels have left the mountains and returned to the folds of the law. Let us put an end to poverty and stop the war. This is the essence of “Bayanihan,” an advocacy of working hand-in-hand”.

Lt. Gen. Cruz commended the returnees for immediately deciding to return to the folds of the law with firearms. “You can now start a new life with your loved ones and be a productive citizen in your respective communities. Your AFP here in Eastern Mindanao is sincere in its mandate in protecting the people. The CPP-NPA-NDF are now into extortion activities, arson, attack to civilians and civilian properties. In other words, they are called as bandits or anti-development group. As I said before, we are confident of these snowballs of surrender in Eastern Mindanao area of responsibility”.
Press Release by the 4ID, PA


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