BACOLOD CITY, May 27 (PNA) — A former squad leader and political instructor of the New People’s Army’s Southwest Front Committee in Negros Occidental got rewards for returning four loose firearms to Philippine Army on Monday.
303rd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Jon Aying handed over P110,000 remuneration to 39-year-old rebel returnee Elizaldy Martisano during the turning-over ceremony held at the Social Hall of Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol.
Martisano, also known as “Ka Nonoy or Bong”, formally surrendered last April 9 at 8:30 pm to army troops stationed at Sitio Payab-on, Barangay Asia, Hinoba-an town in Negros Occidental.
The surrender materialized only after a series of thorough negotiations.
Martisano, who served the notorious NPA group for seven years, returned with him four Colt M16 rifle with one short magazine loaded with 18 rounds of live ammunition and three Mossberg 12-gauge shotguns with 23 rounds of live ammunition.
The firearms remuneration he got was part of Armed Forces of the Philippines’ “Guns for Peace Program” aimed at encouraging NPA rebels to peacefully return to the fold of the law and laid down their arms.
During his speech, Martisano thanked the 303rd Infantry Brigade for helping him and his family.
He also recalled the days when his wife and children suffered from hunger while he was in the mountain embracing the communist’s idealism.
But his struggle ended in 2010 when he realized that the group he was with could only bring him in peril.
“I’m very disappointed of the fact that NPAs could bring genuine land reform in reality. All were just empty promises (sic),” he said in Hiligaynon.
His decision to surrender was also strengthened when he realized that their high ranking leaders only cared for themselves and not to the group’s real “cause”.
The AFP’s “Guns for Peace Program” has served as the gateway for NPA rebels to surrender and live a normal live.
Meanwhile, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. thanked Martisano as well as other rebel returnees for their brave and wise decision to return to the mainstream society.
To date, Marañon disclosed that there were 89 rebel returnees who benefited from the AFP’s program.
As re-elected governor, Marañon assured to help the ex-rebel’s family prosper through the province’s livelihood and education scholarship programs.
“I assure you that your children and your children’s children will be educated and employed so you will no longer live in poverty,” Marañon told Martisano.
Marañon also urged other NPA rebels to surrender since armed struggle was no longer relevant today. If there is war we should win, that is war against poverty, according to the governor. (PNA)