Phil Army in Bicol assures protection of surrenderees

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay


Philippine Army 9th Infantry “Spear” Division commander, MGen. Henry A. Robinson Jr., has assured that former rebels (FRs) who voluntarily returned to the folds of the law will be given ample protection.


Robinson made the statement during the press conference held immediately after the closing ceremony of the two-day FR summit held Friday, Nov.5 at the Villa Del Rey Function Hall in Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur.


“The nearest battalion where the former rebels are residing will keep an eye on them and their families, should there be threats or intimidation from their former comrades. If there are imminent threats, we can immediately transfer them to safer areas,” Robinson stated.


The confab aims to ensure stakeholders’ support from the local government units (LGUs) and agencies, including non-government organizations for sustained provision of livelihood, training, and other services intended for the FRs for them to be active “third party” advocates of peace. The organization will also ensure that the FRs will continue to support the government’s peace advocacy.

9ID CHIEF Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB ) and 9ID commander MGen. Henry A. Robinson Jr., welcomes former rebels during the Regional Former Rebel Summit 2021 held Nov. 4-5 at the Villa Del Rey Function Hall, Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur . (Photo credits:RLabanon/DPAO)


The culmination of the FR summit also gave way to the first general assembly and organizational meeting of the Former Rebels’ Association (FRA).


Robinson also extended his gratitude to at least 60 FRs who attended the event and for heeding the government’s call for unification. He said that the FR summit is just the beginning of a peaceful life.


“Taos-puso akong nagpapasalamat sa ating mga former rebels dahil pinakinggan ninyo an gaming panawagan na magbalik loob sa ating gobyerno at magbigay suporta sa mga programa at kampanya ng ating pamahalaan upang tuluyan ng wakasan ang dekadang armadong tunggalian dito sa ating bansa, partikular dito sa Bicol region (I am sincerely grateful to our former rebels for returning to the folds of the law and support the programs of the government in its campaign to end the decade-long armed struggle in the country, particularly here in the Bicol region),” Robinson said.


The Regional FR summit with the theme: Sa Pagsuko sa Gobyerno may Trayumpo, Sa pagkakasarao, may Pagbabago (Surrender to the government yields triumph, in unity, there is change), is part of the realization of Executive No. 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, which aims to institutionalize the “whole of nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.


This law gave way to the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which directs the adoption of a national peace framework.


As of press time, a total of 2,227 rebels have already surrendered to the government in the region. Some 1,968 are from Masbate, 153 from Sorsogon, 21 from Camarines Norte, 36 from Camarines Sur, 4 from Catanduanes and 45 from Albay. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)