PHOTO CAPTION: Atty. Flosemer Chris Gonzales, spokesperson of RTF-ELCAC in Western Visayas, urges relatives of former rebels to return to the folds of the law after 14 insurgents voluntarily surrendered to authorities recently./iNEWS
KALIBO, Aklan–A top official of the Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) has lauded the efforts of the Philippine Army, the Philippine National Police, and the local government of Libacao, Aklan, for the surrender of active members of New People’s Army (NPA).
The former rebels from Brgy. Dalagsaan voluntarily surrendered on July 8, 2021, during a withdrawal of support ceremony in Brgy. Janlud.
RTF-ELCAC spokesperson Prosecutor Flosemer Cris Gonzales hailed the 12th Infantry Battalion and the Aklan Police Provincial Office through the 1st Aklan Police Mobile Force Company for their complementary efforts in the conduct of focused police-community relations operations in the insurgency corridor barangays in Libacao and internal security operations in the hinterlands thereby reducing the mobility and influence of the remaining rebels in the area.
He also lauded the leadership of Libacao town mayor Charit Navarosa for supporting the Balik-Gobyerno programs after the NPA members and its supporters return to the folds of the law.
“Indi natun kinahaeang-an mag intra sa NPA para mag-umwad atung banwa. Bukon it iksakto du anda nga kawsa, uwa it pag-umwad sa anda gina pakigbato sa gobyerno. Ru progreso it banwa, iya maangkon sa daean it kalinong ag katawhayan [We don’t need insurgents if we want to live in peace and progress. We will achieve a peaceful life if we support the government’s agenda],” Gonzales stressed.
The rebels, aged 16 to 59, are affiliated with the Central Panay Front operating in Panay Island. They decided to surrender to Dalagsaan village chief Esmeraldo Moya on July 7 and were subsequently turned over to the local police for de-briefing.
Authorities maintained the province of Aklan remains communist insurgency-free although there are barangays in the hinterlands of Libacao that are used as mobility insurgency corridors of rebels from time to time.
“Daya ro mga lugar kun siin ga hueag, ga rekruit, gapahuway ag ga pangayo bulig du mga miyembro it NPA. Indi man natun mabasoe ro atung pamueoyo dahil kaeabanan kanda kara hay napilitan eamang ag hapwersa [These (mobility corridors) are the places in far flung barangays where the NPAs normally pass, recruit, and ask for help. We can’t blame the people living there since they were only forced to join the communist movement],” Gonzales said.
A total of 32 former rebels, including the 14 insurgents in Libacao, have surrendered to government troops in the past few months in Aklan after they said they could no longer bear the extortion activities of the organization nor trust their promises.
“We do hope the government’s sincerity to renew the lives of returning insurgents will convince the other active rebels and supporters, who are relatives of the surrenderers, to surrender,” Gonzales added. (Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)