Eight more self-confessed members of the New People’s Army in Negros Occidental have surrendered to the different infantry units of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, its commander, Col. Oscar Lactao, said yesterday.
This brings to 63 the number of rebels who abandoned the armed struggle since the middle of last year, Lactao said.
The eight rebel returnees will soon be presented by the Philippine Army to Governor Alfredo Marañon, who is expected to provide them with livelihood and financial assistance, similar to what he gave to 55 other rebel returnees earlier.
Two weeks ago, five rebel returnees, who surrendered to the 302nd Infantry Brigade in Negros Oriental, also availed of P55,000 each in livelihood and financial assistance from the national government, through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process.
Lactao said the eight rebel returnees confessed to having realized the futility of their armed struggle, and want to live normal lives with their families.
In March, 15 rebel returnees received P150,000 in livelihood assistance, including P5,000 each in financial assistance from the provincial government of Negros Occidental.
The livelihood assistance included 400 heads of week-old chickens, 15 piglets for fattening, six bags of hog grower feeds and chick booster mash, and veterinary drugs, among others.
During the 303rd Infantry Brigade founding anniversary on June 30, Marañon reiterated his call for the rebels in Negros Occidental to rally behind him in the fight against poverty.*GPB