MARAMAG, Bukidnon, Oct. 21 (PIA) - An emotional Datu Mansuladi "Balakbakan" Umalis send a strong message to New People's Army (NPA) during the presentation of surrenderees in 88th Infantry Battalion headquarters, here.
Six regular NPA members and 106 Milisyang Bayan (MB) or part-time NPA members surrendered to the Local Government of San Fernando Bukidnon along with 52 members of the National Democratic Front and local Party Branch of the Communist Party of the Philippines who withdrew their membership.
They yielded to Mayor Levi Edma Sr. who then handed them over to 88th Infantry Battalion for processing of their benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government. Members of the Tigwahanon tribe of Brgy. Halapitan in San Fernando, Bukidnon also witnessed the ceremony.
Datu Balakbakan narrated how an NPA leader alias Alab threatened him, "Basin gusto ka datu mugawas imo dila sa liog?"
"Bisag alas dyes sa gabie nanoktok sila, ila gusto akong mga sakop muapil sa rally bisag dile mi," Datu Balakbakan added.
Mitoy Mansuduan, a regular NPA appealed to his bother "Kibang" to come down and surrender. "Kibang, panaog na dire, ilang pasalig nga suportahan atong amahan wala gyud nahitabo. Gobyerno ray makatabang nato, dile tinood nga pamatyon tag mussurender sa gobyerno." (Kibang, go down now. Their commitment to support our father never materialized. Only the goverment can help us, it is not true that we will be killed by the army once we surrender.)
James Binayao, Chairperson of Mindanao Indigenous People Youth Organization and one of IP Truth Ambassadors who traveled to UN and Geneva said "Gatuyok mi sa lahilahi nga lugar ug nasod aron ipahibalo ang pagpang abuso ug panghimulos sa NPA ngadto sa Tribo, ang ilang paggamit sa ngalan sa tribo aron makahuthot ug kwarta." (We are traveling to different places to reveal the abuses and exploitations of NPA to the tribes, how they use the name of the tribes to make money.)
"Edukasyon ang usa ka example sa pangpang ilad sa kabataan nga gigamit sa CPP-NPA. Pananglitan ang MISFI, Salugpungan, ALCADEV. Pinaagi sa edukasyon tudluan ang kabataan nga masuko sa gobyerno." Binayao added. (Education is one of the examples used by the CPP-NPA to deceive the youth. Take the MISFI, Salugpungan, ALCADEV for instance. Through education, they teach the youth to be angry with the government.)
Meanwhile, Brigader General Edgardo De Leon, 403rd Brigade Commander who is also present during the ceremony informed the locals. "Protektado mo sa International Humanitarian Law, pero sinesekreto sa inyo yan ng NPA. Ngayon takot ang NPA na manakit sa inyo dahil alam nyo nang hindi kayo pwedeng saktan at idamay sa labanan.
He also stressed that the surrender has proven that local peace negotiation is effective. "Isang buong unit ng NPA milisyang bayan ang nagsurrender sala ang kanilang baril." Magmula 1986 hanggang 2017, walang nangyari sa national level peacetalks. Ngayon sa pangunguna ng local government, nagbalik-loob ang mga rebelde at nangako ng programang pangkabuhayan ang lokal na pamahalaan," he said.
The surrender was made possible through the joint efforts of the local government of San Fernando and the Community Support Teams of 88IB through reaching out to Sitios and Puroks for community-based dialogues to resolve conflicts and reverse the radicalization narratives of NPA cadres. (403rd Bde/PIA)