More NPA surrenderees in 2012 - military
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 4, 2013 - 2:32pm

MANILA, Philippines - The number of communist rebels who surrendered increased last year due to government programs that provide livelihood to former insurgents, the military said Monday.

Armed Forces spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said 367 rebels abandoned the communist movement last year, higher than the 235 recorded in 2011.

“The increase in the number of NPA (New People’s Army) surrenderees can be attributed to the localized integration program undertaken by local chief executives in NPA-affected areas,” Burgos said in an interview.

The integration programs, which vary from one province to another, seek to assist rebels who will lay down their arms to live peaceful lives. The programs involve the giving of livelihood and financial assistance to former insurgents and their dependents.

Burgos said the number of violent incidents initiated by NPA members also decreased last year, dropping to 374 from 473 in 2011 and 501 in 2010.

The military, however, admitted that the insurgents continue to launch attacks against civilians. Burgos cited the recent raid in the Del Monte and Dole plantations in Bukidnon and the ambush in Negros Occidental that left nine persons dead.

“Such modus of force and intimidation to coerce civilians including private firms and individuals to give in to their demands are desperate moves by the NPA who continue to lose their mass base support,” Burgos said.

Security officials have linked the attacks on businesses to the supposed extortion campaign of the rebels.

Despite the supposed gains of the government’s security plan, the military admitted previously that the NPA extorted more than P25 million from individuals and businesses last year. Sources said among the main sources of the extortion revenues are plantations and mining firms.

Burgos said the government is now addressing key issues like poverty and lack of access to basic services to curb the rebels’ recruitment activities. He said these issues are being used by the insurgents to lure civilians to join the rebellion.

Military data showed that there are about 4,000 communist rebels in the country.

ARMED FORCES ARNULFO BURGOS JR. BUKIDNON BURGOS DEL MONTE AND DOLE INSURGENTS NEGROS OCCIDENTAL NEW PEOPLE NPA REBELS
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