By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The New People’s Army (NPA) called the surrender campaign of the government a “sham” and “farcical” following a series of police and military pronouncements about several rebels and sympathizers yielding in Abra and Kalinga.
In a statement dated October 31, Chadli Molintas Command (CMC) spokesperson Martin Montana said, “Not even one percent of the said surrenderees are real members of the NPA, and yet, many of them were former surrenderees who were only recycled by the AFP-PNP to be presented as new surrenderees.”
According to him, most of the individuals presented by the authorities as surrenderees are civilians, activists, and members of people’s organizations, accused of being NPA supporters and coerced to surrender by the police and military.
He cited the case of alleged 10 NPA militia members who surrendered to the Philippine National Police in Abra on October 2.
Montana said PNP Acting Provincial Director PCol. Alfredo Dagani summoned the civilians from Naguilian and Sacaang in Sallapadan town to Camp Juan Villamor in the capital town of Bangued.
“While at the PNP headquarters, they were surprised to learn that they are being accused as ‘NPA supporters,’ thus they should surrender and pledge allegiance to the government,” the rebel leader said.
He went on to say that the civilians tried to resist the police from presenting them as surrendering NPA supporters but they eventually succumbed to pressure.
“Pressured and coerced, they eventually allowed their photographs to be taken as a group on the condition that they won’t use any mask or cap to prove that they are innocent civilians who have nothing to hide,” he added.
According to the PNP, Sallapadan Mayor Grande Cardenas facilitated the surrender of the 10 alleged militias. Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCOR) Deputy Director witnessed their surrender and turnover of armaments. The police will also work for the delisting of their names in the order of battle and benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.
E-CLIP is the assistance package of the government to rebels who surrender and their families. Other than the usual livelihood assistance, former rebels who turn over firearms are also entitled to additional cash awards.
Earlier, PROCOR informed the media that five NPA members, including a platoon leader, surrendered in Kalinga. The police identified those who surrendered under their aliases as Diwa, Abag, Amaya, Berna, and Yasel. According to the PNP, the five voluntarily presented themselves at Camp Juan Duyan in Bulanao, Tabuk City.
An alleged platoon leader of the Lejo Cawilan Command (LCC)-NPA Kalinga, Diwa surrendered on October 16 to Provincial Director PCol Job Russel Balaquit. The former rebel is facing Warrants of Arrest issued by Judge Neljoe Cortez of RTC Branch 25 in Tabuk City for two separate Attempted Murder cases. He brought with him his an M60 Machine Gun, two 60mm mortars with three ammunitions and a homemade shotgun with 12 bullets.
On October 23, members of Militia ng Bayan Abag, Amaya, Berna and Yasel, all residents of Barangay Buaya in Balbalan town, yielded to government forces. Abag and Amaya also turned-over their rifles and several ammunitions comprising of an M1 US Garrand and Assault Rifle 18 respectively.
However, Tipon Gil-ayab, spokesperson of the Leonardo Pacsi Command-NPA Kalinga repudiated the PNP allegations. He said that like the “ninja cops” who recycle drugs, government forces are also “mahilig din silang magrecycle ng mga surenderees (fond of recycling surrenderees).”
“Sa nagdaang mga araw ay sunod-sunod ang mga palabas ng AFP-PNP hinggil sa mga pekeng surenderees na di umano ay mga NPA at milisyang bayan na kung hindi man CAFGU ay mga sibilyang sinindak o hinuli ng sa ganoon ay pasurenderin at pagkakitaan ng AFP-PNP sa pamamagitan ng programang E-CLIP na nakapaloob sa Oplan Kapanatagan (In the past days, the AFP-PNP presented several alleged NPA and militias who surrendered. But these are CAFGUs or civilians threatened and detained to surrender so the AFP-PNP can profit from their E-CLIP program under Oplan Kapanatagan),” the rebel spokes said.
Gil-ayab clarified that Diwa already surrendered in 2017 and had lost connection with the revolutionary movement since then.
“Si Ka Diwa ay dating NPA na matagal nang bumababa dahil sa kahirapan sa pagsunod sa disiplina at kabiguan na magpanibagong-hubog upang mas epektibong makapagsilbi sa masa (Diwa was a former NPA who left because of his difficulty abiding by the discipline and failure to change to effectively serve the masses),” he added.
According to him, the mass surrender publicized by the police and military are meant to earn for themselves merits and added funds, “makakuha ng merito ang kanilang organisasyon at makakurakot pa ng mas maraming pondo (earn merits for their organization and pocket more funds).” # nordis.net