AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the government is committed to ensuring the returnees’ safety and giving them a chance to live happily with their families.
John Unson/File
AFP to communist surrenderees: We will protect you
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday reassured surrendering members of the New People’s Army (NPA) of protection from their former comrades who might try to prevent them from living normal lives back in the fold of the law.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the government is committed to ensuring the returnees’ safety and giving them a chance to live happily with their families.

Arevalo noted the military helps provide protection to qualified surrenderees “from their former comrades who might want to deprive them of this opportunity to be with their families and mainstream society again.”

“This is the best time to surrender and avail of these benefits now enjoyed by hundreds of former rebels,” he declared as the AFP joined President Duterte in his continuing call for NPA members to lay down their arms as most of them have already done.

Arevalo said rebel returnees have a chance “to avail of the offer to have a new lease of a peaceful, productive and joyful life with their loved ones in a community of fellow Filipinos welcoming and embracing them back to its folds.”

“Their so-called people’s revolution is already passé as more and more Filipinos – including the ones in their losing ‘army’ of communists – have realized the inutility of their pretended ideology that has now turned into terrorism of the people and the exploitation of their own,” he noted.

Arevalo said hundreds who have surrendered, and those still in the mountains but have sent surrender feelers, now say that they came to realize that while they were being pushed to fight it out in the frontlines, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leadership in Europe and in the cities luxuriate in the money they extort from business persons.

“The government has the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) in full swing to ensure that former rebels will have a holistic package of benefits that they can avail such as, but not limited to, health, education, livelihood assistance and legal assistance,” he stressed.

Arevalo said the NPA rebels do not need the likes of Jose Maria Sison to broker for peaceful and meaningful lives for them because they can, as the AFP has been supporting, avail themselves of localized peace talks.

“That is more responsive to their particular needs and situations. CPP leaders abroad are out of touch and have only their personal interests to protect in making ludicrous demands for the talks but do not perform their share to make peace work,” he said.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY SURRENDEREES
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