A total of 35 former rebels (FRs) finished a four-day deradicalization program with the theme “Bagong Buhay, Bagong Pag-asa Hatid ng Pamahalaan para sa mga Kapatid na Dating Rebelde” at the headquarters of the 903rd Infantry Brigade in Castilla, Sorsogon.
Maj. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson, said the Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 lectures and livelihood training were part of the government’s program to help FRs blend with the civilized society again.
“It was facilitated by the Army in partnership with different local government agencies purposely to correct the ideologies and doctrines the communist terrorist groups instilled in them,” he said in a statement on Friday.
Col. Arturo Brual Jr., director of the Sorsogon Police Provincial Office, assured FRs that their decision to return to the fold of the law is beneficial not only to them but also to their families.
“If you go back to the fold of the law, you will be with your family, and rest assured that the government is with you, doing what is promised to help you and give you a decent living, ” Brual told the FRs during the closing ceremony.
Col. Alwine Almase, 903rd Brigade commander, said the decision to surrender will open countless doors of opportunities for FRs who wish to live a normal life again while Maj. Gen Henry Robinson Jr., commander of Joint Task Force Bicolandia, enjoined the FRs to help the government in opening the eyes of the local populace about the dangers of joining the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“FRs are vulnerable and they can still be deceived by the communist terrorists. But with the deradicalization, they are freed from the wrong mindset and belief. We are positive that after this, they will have the boldness to call on their former comrades to abandon the armed movement and join us in our continuing peace efforts,” Robinson said in another statement.
On November 4 and 5, an FR summit was also held in Pili, Camarines Sur with the similar aim to empower them as peace advocates and involve them in the government’s peace initiatives.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Source: Philippines News Agency