For­mer rebels to train as para­mil­i­tary troop­ers

Sun Star Bacolod - - Topstories - BY TERESA D. ELLERA

FOR­MER rebels be­long­ing to the Revo­lu­tion­ary Pro­le­tar­ian Armyalex Bon­cayao Brigade (RPA- ABB) will un­dergo a two-month train­ing as para-mil­i­tary troop­ers.

Capt. Cenon Pancito III, spokesman for the 3rd In­fantry Di­vi­sion of the Philip­pine Army said 267 mem­bers of rebel fac­tion now known as Ka­p­ati­ran sa Pro­gre­si­bong Lipunan train­ing will al­low them to pro­tect their com­mu­ni­ties through Peace De­vel­op­ment Cen­ters and self-de­fense units or Cit­i­zens Armed Forces Geo­graph­i­cal Units (CAFGU).

The com­bat­ants will be is­sued firearms when they are de­ployed to com­mu­ni­ties, he said.

About 310 mem­bers of the RPA-ABB sur­ren­dered their high-pow­ered firearms to Army’s 3rd In­fantry Di­vi­sion (ID) head­quar­ters in Ja­min­dan, Capiz Sun­day, Septem­ber 8.

They came from Tan­jay City in Ne­gros Ori­en­tal, Iba­jay town in Ak­lan province, Maasin town in Iloilo province, and cities of Bago, Cadiz, and Ka­bankalan, and mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Cauayan in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal.

Pancito said these mem­bers were iden­ti­fied by the au­thor­i­ties as armed mem­bers of the group based in var­i­ous ar­eas in the re­gion.

The bulk of the RPAABB mem­bers is lo­cated in 91 vil­lages in West­ern Visayas.

The turnover of firearms was si­mul­ta­ne­ously done in the whole re­gion over the week­end.

Part of the caches were 207 long and short firearms, as­sorted ex­plo­sives, and rounds of am­mu­ni­tion sur­ren­dered to the po­lice in the ar­eas of Barangay Bagonbon in San Car­los City, Barangay Ce­lestino Vil­lacin in Cadiz City, Barangay Dos Her­manas in Tal­isay City, Barangay Tabigue in E.B. Ma­ga­lona town, and Barangay Talac­dan, Cauayan town in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal.

The govern­ment will de­com­mis­sion for­mer com­bat­ants of the Revo­lu­tion­ary Pro­le­tar­ian Army-alex Bon­cayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) and their firearms within this week, he said.

The RPA-ABB is a break­away fac­tion of the New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA) op­er­at­ing in West­ern Visayas.

The rebels re­turn to the fold of the law is the re­sult of ef­fec­tive lo­cal­ized peace talks, he added.

At least 200 com­bat­ants, who sur­ren­dered more than 200 firearms and ex­plo­sives to the govern­ment, were con­sol­i­dated at Camp Al­fredo Mon­telibano Sr., Ba­colod City.

“The con­sol­i­da­tion was part of the prepa­ra­tions for this week’s de­com­mis­sion­ing cer­e­mony,” Pancito said.

The RPA-ABB and its po­lit­i­cal wing, Re­bo­lusy­onary­ong Par­tido ng Man­ga­gawa-pilip­inas (RPMP), signed a peace agree­ment with the govern­ment in 2000.

Pancito said the RPAABB, now known as Ka­p­ati­ran, has de­nounced the leadership of Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines found­ing chair­man Jose Maria Si­son.

Fol­low­ing their breakup from the CPP-NPA, lead­ers of the RPA-ABB and RPM-P, were killed by NPA as­sas­sins in Que­zon City in 1998.*

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