5 fighters claiming to be Bukidnon NPA return to the fold of the law

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Map of Bukidnon Province.
Map of Bukidnon Province.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Five alleged members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) turned themselves in and yielded their guns to the police on Tuesday, December 12.

The Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao (PRO-10) on Monday presented the former communist insurgents, whom they had identified as Marlon Talisik, Rodolfo Talisik, Bebert Damasco Jr. from Casisang, Malaybalay City; and Arnel Salahag Diwangan and Mablet Timbangan, of Canangaan, Cabanglasan, all in Bukidnon.

Police said the five are suspected to be part of Section Committee (Secom) 89 of the North-Central Mindanao Regional Command.

The Talisiks and Damasco, who are from the Higaonon tribe, surrendered on December 5, facilitated by Datu Jerry Magaling and escorted by security forces from the Public Safety Mobile Forces Company in Bukidnon.

Police said they were suspected to have been involved in rebel extortion activities and special operations in Bukidnon in 2014 and 2015.

Diwangan and Timbangan yielded on December 11. They are both from the Omayamnon tribe, and allegedly figured in the procurement of supplies for their rebel band, believed to be members of Secom 89 since 2016.

The former Maoist guerillas surrendered assorted firearms, including sniper and assault rifles and shotguns.

They reported that part of the reason for their surrender was experiencing the “hardships and false promises” within the revolutionary movement.

They are now asking the government to address their financial difficulties and socio-economic problems.

“We are tired and we no longer understand the movement. There are promises that remain unanswered,” they said.

Chief Superintendent Timoteo Pacleb, PRO-10 regional director, said the police and the military, including other intelligence agencies, will jointly validate the information and their claims, to rule out the possibility that they are not just any other bandit group operating in Bukidnon.

“They are self-declared NPA members. There is validation process that will be conducted with the AFP, PNP and other intelligence agencies of the government,” Pacleb said.

The five will temporarily be under the custody of PRO-10.

Pacleb assured that, once validated, the former NPA fighters will receive benefits including financial and livelihood assistance through the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).