Mass supporters of NPA rebels surrender

FIFTY-NINE mass supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the 28th Infantry Battalion after the conduct of the grand pulong-pulong in Barangay Tubaon, Tarragona, Davao Oriental on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

 Capt. Andrew Linao, the civil-military operations (CMO) officer of the 701st Infantry Brigade based in Mati City, told TIMES that the rebel returnees took an oath of allegiance to the local government headed by the Tarragona Vice Mayor Edwin C. Matais.

 Also present during the activity were representative from the media, Provincial Health Office, Provincial Social and Welfare Development Office, local government of Tarragona, and soldiers of the 28th IB.

 Meanwhile, there was also a distribution of relief goods to the residents headed by the local social welfare office, along with sychosocial and psychological interventions given to the residents/evacuees.

 He said there names mentioned by the surrenderees that were not in their list.

 “We advised them to proceed to the municipality of Tarragona and surrender to clear their names, ” he added.

 The military officer said the mass surrender was a joint effort of the 28th IB and the local government in the area to cut NPA support.

 “For now, they are now back to their communities because they can’t avail of the Comprehensive Local Integrated Program (CLIP),” he said. “They will attend a peace-building seminar for government intervention to live in peaceful means back in their communities.”

 Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, the commander of 28th Infantry Battalion, credited the help of the local government of Tarragona and the various government agencies for the surrender.

 “This manifests the commitment of the government to resolve conflict peacefully and to rescue citizens jaded by terrorist propaganda,” he further said.

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