TUGUEGARAO CITY – A 79-year-old former New People’s Army (NPA) squad leader was presented to the media after he gave up himself to the Cagayan provincial government and police officials in Barangay Lagum, Santo Niño, Cagayan on Thursday.
After a 40-year stay with the communist rebel group, Loreto Diliggon Ventura, alias Ka Nestor, a native of Maab-abaca in Piddig, Ilocos Norte, said he decided to surrender after he was left by his comrades while sick at a nipa hut in Lagum village.
“Matanda na ako at iniwan na nila ako dahil wala na silang pakinabang,” he said.
With his wife Grace, they were blessed with three children – Evelyn, Edwin, and Editha.
Finishing only Grade 2 at the Maab-abaca Elementary School, Ventura was lured into the NPA when he was in his late 30s.
“You see now, the New People’s Army members must be answerable for their human rights violations. They are good for nothing,” Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said.
Mamba added he prodded villagers to be vigilant and fight communists “as they are very much dwindling in number and no longer a force to be reckoned with.”
Ventura gave up an M-16 Armalite rifle, a Carbine rifle, a cal. 45 handgun, assorted bullets, improvised explosive devices, belongings, anti-government documents, and other paraphernalia.
He will receive gun compensation for the surrendered guns.
Ventura initially received P20,000 financial assistance from the Cagayan provincial government through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) program of the government.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging war against the government since in the 1960s, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.