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New rebel surrenderers and soldiers celebrate New Year’s Eve together

January 05, 2019 - Saturday 2:01 PM by PR

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur – It's a good start for a new life for former New People's Army (NPA) members belonging to Guerilla Front 3 (GF3) who recently surrendered and get to celebrate the New Year’s Eve with the soldiers of 401st Infantry Brigade held at the headquarters in Barangay Awa, Prosperidad, this province.

Sonny, the commander of GF3 who is also known as 'Boss and Mark', and nine others joined the soldiers led by Brigadier General Andres Centino in celebrating the new year’s eve on Monday night. The soldiers welcomed their former foes as they waited the “Media Noche” at the military camp. Soldiers and former NPA members shared the food being prepared while others enjoyed singing on the videoke.

In his New Year’s message, Brigadier General Centino said that it was his first time to celebrate New Year’s Eve with former NPA members. “Despite my several decades of fighting the CPP-NPA, I still believe that it is still best to choose to follow the path to peace. To our brothers and sisters who just returned to the government last Christmas day, I am happy that you chose the path to peace just in time for this yuletide season. Let us work together for a peaceful 2019 by helping us convince your former comrades to follow suit in heeding to the government’s call for peace. Let them know that, we welcomed former NPA members who returned to the folds of the law and that they are taken cared of just like what we are doing with you,” he said.

Sonny also said in his message (translated from Cebuano vernacular): “I don’t know how to feel tonight. I can’t believe that just few days ago the soldiers are our enemy but since Christmas day until now, you are the ones taking care of us, including our dependents. This is the most memorable New Year I and my family have ever experienced because not only that we regain our freedom, we also celebrate this occasion with soldiers who are doing their best to help us. All I can say, thank you very much and happy new year to all.”

Meanwhile, the other nine former rebels and their families were assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Jaime Datuin, Commanding Officer of 75IB while having their reunion on New Year’s Day.

It can be recalled that on Christmas day, 19 members of the GF3 returned to the folds of the government through the help of 75IB and 26IB bringing with them 14 High Powered Firearms.

With this development, the 401st Brigade and the Provincial Government of Agusan del Sur are taking care of them and their dependents while processing their enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

NEW YEAR, NEW LIFE. Newly surrendered New People’s Army (NPA) members mingle and dine with soldiers on News Year’s Eve in Barangay Awa, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.