February 23, 2024

There are no bogus rebel surrenderers in the Cordillera, the regional police command assured.
Police Regional Office-Cordillera Director, B/Gen. Israel Ephraim Dickson, said all the New People’s Army rebel returnees in the region are genuine surrenderers.
Dickson added the rebel returnees have gone through the evaluation process.
“We assure that those who returned are genuine surrenderers. They were evaluated by the intelligence community and the local government units and they are again evaluated before their benefits are processed. In fact, in some areas, no less than the local chief executives are the ones presenting to us the returnees,” he said.
The most recent mass rebel surrender was in Sallapadan, Abra where 17 individuals surrendered on Jan.17. Six rebels have surrendered earlier.
Dickson added the influx of rebel surrenderers indicates that the Whole-of-Nation approach implemented by the government is working.
“They are returning to the folds of the law because they now believe in the program and the benefits provided to them by the government.”
PRO-Cor has so far recorded 98 rebel surrenderers in relation to the campaign of the government to end local communist armed conflict.
Dickson said the influx of rebel surrenderers is one of PRO-Cor’s significant contributions in the government’s war against insurgency.
In terms of the number of areas with insurgency-related concerns, Mountain Province and Abra have the most number of rebel-affected or rebel-influenced barangays, which Dickson attributed to the remoteness of the areas.
“But the concerns on (access) to isolated areas are now being addressed through the Whole of Nation approach.”
In Benguet, Police Provincial Office Director, Col. Elmer Ragay, said while the province is considered a “white area” or does not have a rebel-infiltrated barangay, the police are not letting their guards down since some towns – Buguias, Mankayan, and Kabayan serve as routes of the NPA rebels to their bailiwicks in Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, and Ifugao.
As its contribution in the government’s war against insurgency, the BPPO facilitated the surrender of six rebels in the province last year.
Ragay said two more have surrendered this year.
In Baguio, City Police Director, Col. Allen Rae Co, said the police continue to monitor recruitment activities conducted by groups associated with the communist groups. – Jane B. Cadalig