The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division reported that the number of New People’s Army members who surrendered to its infantry units, is now 53 with 37 in Negros island.
Maj. Ray Tiongson, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, yesterday said some of the 53 rebel returnees have surrendered 13 firearms and three explosives, as well as fragmentation and rifle grenades, since January.
Sixteen others also surrendered in Panay, military records show.
Tiongson said a certain Jerome Billamac, with the aliases of “Ka Maisa” and “Imper,” added to the list of rebels who surrendered recently to Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo.
Billamac, a self-confessed vice-squad leader and a machine gunner of Squad 2, Sentro de Grabidad Platon of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Sentral Bisayas Southeast Front, told Col. Christopher Estella, 302nd Infantry Brigade deputy commander, that he had participated in numerous encounters with government forces in Negros Oriental.
Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, 3rd Infantry Division commander, in a statement, he issued said “ This indicates the waning strength of the NPA” .
Military records show that two former rebels in Negros Oriental received P50,000 each in financial assistance through the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program, issued to ensure their successful integration to the mainstream society.
Tiongson said Billamac will also avail of a similar financial assistance.
The Guns for Peace Program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines offers cash incentives to NPA members who surrender their guns.
Tiongson said they may receive as high as P200,000 for light machine guns, P50,000 for an M-16 assault rifle, P60,000 for M-14 rifle and P40,000 for M203 grenade launchers, among others.
He added that former rebels may also avail of skills training seminas on livelihood. *GPB