CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal -- The liberation of 162 Dumagat and Mangyan former rebels from the clutches of the New People’s Army highlighted Southern Tagalog’s celebration of this year’s International Day of Indigenous People.
One hundred thirty two of the former rebels belong to the Dumagat Remontados of the Sierra Madre while the rest belong to the Mangyan tribe of Mindoro.
Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division which covers Southern Tagalog, congratulated the former rebels for “choosing the path to peace and for turning their backs from the underground movement” while assuring them that “your government will always be here to assist you to attain the prosperous lives, which every Filipino citizen deserves.”
Based on military records, majority of the IP former rebels have already received benefits under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP, which provides up to P700,000 worth of grants and reintegration packages for NPA terrorists who will decide to give up the armed struggle and rejoin mainstream society.
“Our IP’s rights are being violated, their peace-loving nature exploited and they are being threatened and coerced to support the NPA terrorists. Such is a deplorable practice within the terrorist organization that no words can ever justify,” Burgos said.
According to Burgos, this unprecedented withdrawal of support from the underground movement was a clear manifestation of our indigenous people’s empowerment to go against the NPA terrorists, which will further contribute to the rebels imminent defeat.
On Friday, NPA top commander and IP recruiter Mario Caraig alias “Jethro” was killed in an encounter with the police and military in Kalayaan, Laguna.
Alias “Jethro” was the second ranking NPA leader to be neutralized in Laguna in three days following the death of alias “Termo” in a clash in Bgy. San Antonio also in Kalayaan town.