BACOLOD CITY, May 27 (PNA) — The Philippine Army on Monday appealed anew to members of New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Occidental to end its four decades of continuing armed struggle.
303rd Infantry Brigade Commander, Col. Jon Aying, said they will be very happy to welcome and help the rebels live a decent life through the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “Gun for Peace Program.”
The program provides avenues for the peaceful return of armed rebels to the mainstream society.
It also provides firearms remuneration to rebel returnees. The general valuation cost of turned-in firearms are about P2,000 for “paltik” (home-made) revolver, P10,000 for vintage firearm, P50,000 for rifle, and as much as P150,000 for sub-machine guns.
In general, Aying said the Gun for Peace Program will recover loose firearms in the hands of lawless elements.
“We aim to recall all these guns responsible for the lawlessness, misery and sufferings of those many people affected by the violent behaviors of the bearers of these loose guns. Thus, the AFP promotes the recovery of these instruments of violence through the ‘Guns for Peace’ program,” he said.
To truly win the peace in the province, Aying said they will secure communities from lawlessness and disasters, and mainstream affected communities towards nation-building.”
The brigade’s lawyer, Leon Moya, disclosed they are eyeing to forge an alliance with the Philippine National Bank (PNB) to come up with livelihood programs and disperse land for rebel returnees.
For his part, Romeo Baldevarona of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Bacolod City condemned the violence, especially those that were created in the course of internal armed conflict.
“We always want peace for we already experienced the worst form of violence in the province in the past (sic),” Baldevarona said referring to numerous cases of suspected extra-judicial killings in northern Negros.
Acting Police Provincial Director, Senior Supt. Ricardo de la Paz, also assured of their full support in achieving the goals of its “Gun for Peace Program”. (PNA)