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News, Peace & Order

Local peace talks in Abra bearing fruits

La Trinidad, Benguet – Localized peace negotiations in Abra province is bearing fruits with the surrender this week of a high ranking communist leader and another guerilla, the military said.

Mateo M. Bulaay alias Ka Sakay, 55, a native Tingguian of Sitio Cubcuba, Barangay Lat-ey, Malibcong, Abra who has been a veteran with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army organization for 14 years, gave up after reportedly realizing the futility of the armed struggle.

The military said Ka Sakay was in charge of the education department of the CPP-NPA’s Abra Provincial Party Committee.

The other rebel who surrendered was a 17-year-old native of Sitio Talipugo, Barangay Buneg, Lacub and had been with the underground movement for less than a year. Most of his assignments was in the tri-boundary of Abra, Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur.

The teener guerilla told the military he decided to return to mainstream society because of hardship and fear.

Col. Eliseo Posadas, commander of the 503rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Abra, said most of the time they were hungry because they are always on the run especially if there are military operations.

“These are the reasons that triggered them to go back to the mainstream of society,” he said.

The two were immediately brought to Abra Provincial Hospital for medical check-up as part of custodial debriefing.

The duo also were also given “spiritual enlightenment” by pastors from the Abra Ministerial Associations as their commitment on the local peace talks.

The former rebels will be processed by 503rd Infantry Brigade for proper caring and reintegration into the community through the “Kabsat Ko, Ipateg Ko” Program and the Local Integration Program of the government, which aims to enrich the rehabilitation of all returning rebels.

Col. Posadas said the military will do its part to help those who want to come down and join the mainstream society.

He added that the Philippine Army in Abra, in coordination with the provincial government, is ready to accept and accommodate rebels who decide to surrender in the program.

Less than a hundred former rebels including high ranking communists are already enjoying the fruits of the government’s pilot program, perhaps one of the first successful surrender and integration program ever, Posadas said. -Artemio Dumlao

http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationsubcategoryid=200&articleid=846293

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