Negrenses were given a free tour on the Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza on its six-day vist to Negros Oriental. Greenpeace went to Negros Oriental for its first stop in the Philippine leg of their Ocean Defender Tour. The Ocean Defender Tour is a campaign against marine degradation. The famous environmental group encourages everyone to take part in the conservation and protection efforts to the country’s aquatic resources.
By Jennifer C. Tilos
SIATON, Negros Oriental, July 10 (PIA) –A total of 28 communist rebels have surrendered recently after an army troops of Bayanihan Team under the 79th Infantry Battalion dismantled the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels’ mass structure in Barangay Mantiquil in Siaton town.
“After realizing the futility of supporting the armed struggle and the hostility of keeping the NPAs to their shelter, 28 Party Branch Members and Peoples Militia were awakened from the deceptive insinuations on opinionated issues that brought the Solid Mass Organization or MASSO in Brgy Mantiquil Siaton, Negros Oriental,” Ltc Marion Sison, Commander of 79th Infantry (Masaligan) Battalion said.
Lt Col. Sison said with this incident Barangay Mantiquil is now cleared from the menace of insurgency.
With the number of rebel surrenderees, nine members of Sangay sa Partido sa Localidad (SPL) led by Rosalie Nama alias POPS and nineteen members of Yunit Militia (YM) of Lubos na Asosasyong Masa (LAM)/Solid Mass Association under Diosdado Nama alias DONDI returned to the folds of the law by turning themselves in to the troops of 79th Infantry (Masaligan) Battalion under Ltc Marion R Sison.
“The surrender of 28 persons who were utilized for chores from being underground informants to sometimes, instant and untrained fill up fighters for the NPAs was brought about by the proper information delivered by the Bayanihan Troops from issues previously exploited by the terror groups,” said Sison.
They admittedly decided to turn their backs after realizing they have been fed with lies by the NPA Leadership,” said Ltc Sison.
“We treated them as victims, Sison stressed. Indeed these mass surrender of the entire community previously encapsulated by the broken Communist ideologies is a gateway to a wider opportunity for its constituents, especially the youth,” Sison added.
Brigadier General Jonas Sumagaysay, Acting 3ID Commander said, the people of Negros are happy to welcome their long lost brothers and sisters who have returned to the democratic fold.
This is a welcome development in the province of Negros Oriental where people have longed for a lasting peace. Let us help each other in the spirit of Bayanihan to end the menace of insurgency and move forward towards development in the countryside, Sumagaysay added.
Sumagaysay went on that the snowball of surrenders can be also attributed to social pressure generated by the civil society organizations, the local officials and other stakeholders who have been persistent in calling for peace coupled with sustained combat operations in the region.
Meanwhile, in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division first semester report, a total of 62 regular members of the NPA have already surrendered and live normally in the mainstream society.
This number includes 26 rebels who are members of Komiteng Rehiyonal-Panay (KR-P), 33 from Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros (KR-N) and 3 from Komiteng Rehiyonal Sentral-Bisayas (KR-SB). The numbers does not count NPA members who have been monitored to have left the movement for the period.
This year’s first semester surrenderees is up by 18 or 40 percent compared to first semester of last year where 44 NPA rebels have laid down their arms and returned to mainstream society and chose to live peacefully.
Sumaygaysay said “We expect more rebels to surrender in the coming days because we know that they are already tired of the futile armed struggle and wanted to go down and abandon the armed violence.”
He added, the CPP-NPA is losing the support of the populace while their ranks continue to go back to the democratic folds and start a lawful and peaceful life.
The continued Bayanihan in Western Visayas is a successful effort of the people who longed for lasting peace in this part of the country, stressed Sumaygaysay. (mbcn/JCT/PIA7-Negros Oriental)