276 rebels surrender in Bukidnon since July 2010, says official

MALAYBALAY CITY — The provincial government
of Bukidnon has received a total of 276 former members of the New
People’s Army since July 2010,
provincial administrator Provo Antipasado said Friday.

He said the provincial government has shelled out a total of P3.465
million for the reintegration of the former rebels since the start of
the administration of Gov. Alex Calingasan, with the latest the
surrender of 45 persons reported to be members of the NPA formally
turned over to the provincial government on March 29 at the Kaamulan
Open Theater.

Antipasado said the former rebels have been enrolled into the
Provincial Livelihood Program.

The provincial government is providing P30,000 financial assistance
to rebels returning with firearms and P5,000 for those identified as
“militiamen.”

Gov. Alex Calingasan said earlier the local livelihood assistance is
not part of the national government’s integration program. The
provincial government recently signed a memorandum of agreement with
the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
for the integration program along with other components.

Hansel Echavez, provincial livelihood officer, said social welfare
officers will conduct interviews with the returnees to identify their
needs, which will become the basis for the OPAPP for the release of
assistance.

After being stalled for almost four months, the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan has finally authorized Calingasan last month to sign the
MOA, which also covers rebel assistance to those who surrendered during the
previous Arroyo administration but were unable to receive assistance under
the dissolved Social Integration Program.

According to a press release from the Provincial Public Affairs
Information and Assistance (PAIA) Friday, the 45 returnees Thursday
belonged to three groups of rebels.

One group belonged to Gevion D. Balanban or “Oto” and “Salin Ubod,”
accordingly with 14 members under the Mamerto Bagani Command from
Northern Bukidnon, including Upper Pulangui.

The provincial government reported the turnover of 30 firearms of
different types, including IEDs or Improvised Explosive Devices from
the group.

Another reported rebel identified as Johnny Boy Andin-o or “Rebong”
surrendered along with five others from the NPA’s Guerilla Front 6,
which the army said operated in the hinterlands of San Fernando town.
The group surrendered an M16 rifle, two Garand, two Carbines, an
improvised M14 and a caliber-45 pistol.

Rene Mansaylu-ay Dal-anay or “Taruc” and “Yoyoy” also surrendered with
a group of 10 others. The army said they belonged to the Boyboy Roa
Command in San Fernando town. The group was reported to have
surrendered a Carbine rifle, a Garand, and an unidentified number of
improvised explosive devices or IEDs.

The surrender on March 29 was the biggest after Benjamin Salusad’s
surrender last year.

Salusad, along with 79 other alleged NPA members surrendered to the
8th Infantry Battalion in Maramag town on Nov. 15, and also turned in 25
high-powered firearms.

Only 31 of the rebel returnees were said to be full-time combatants
and 49 were members of the Milisya ng Bayan (People’s Militia).
Seventy of them were males. The returnees belong to the Tigwahanon,
Matigsalog and Manobo tribes of San Fernando.

The provincial government cited that the former rebels received
emergency assistance, livelihood assistance and the government’s
amnesty program pursuant to Executive Order Number 152 or the Balik
Baril Program signed on January 21, 1994. (Walter I. Balane with
reports from Sean Sulugan/Bukidnon News)