Thursday, April 08, 2010

NPA rebel yields, surrenders anti-tank weapon in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / April 8, 2010) – A communist rebel who broke away from his group called New People’s Army in Mindanao has surrendered to the military, officials said Thursday.

Officials said Romeo Bangilum also handed over to the military a 90mm recoilless anti-tank weapon and a rifle he took from the NPA. He surrendered Wednesday to Filipino army chief General Reynaldo Mapagu who inspected troops at a military base in Davao City.

Bangilum said he was recruited by his sister Imelda Lintubad, but it was unknown whether the woman would follow him or not. He said he was lured into joining the NPA, which has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country.

“I was a rebel for four years. I was lured into false promises. They promised me seven thousand pesos every month and another seven hundred pesos for each of my four children, but those were all lies. Now I am free,” Bangilum told military interrogators.

Mapagu said he was happy with the Bangilun’s surrender and urged other rebels to return to the folds of the law and live peacefully with their family.

“We are glad that another misguided brother has returned to the folds of the law. He was deceived and promised a better life by the communists, but suffered only hardships and pains while in the underground movement. We call on our misguided brothers to lay down their arms as what Romeo did and take the peaceful path to change for our country’s progress,” Mapagu said.

The military said Bangilun surrendered through the efforts of the local tribal council and decision of its leaders to convince Lumad natives who joined the NPA to rejoin society.

The Army’s 10th Infantry Division said Bangilun will receive a total of P170,000 in benefits under the government’s Social Integration Program.

Major General Carlos Holganza, a regional army commander, said the good relationship established by government soldiers in Lumad communities paved the way for the tribal council to help the government in its peace efforts. “We are sincere with our program and we urge our brothers in the NPA to come back to society and begin a new life,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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