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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lapuyan residents lauded for their vigilance and support to AFP’s “Bayanihan” campaign

By Gideon C. Corgue

LAPUYAN, Zamboanga del Sur – The encounter between the troops of the 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) battalion and 20 fully armed member of the New People’s Army (NPA) on Wednesday in barangay Tiguha, Lapuyan was attributed to the active support of the civilians.

LtCol. Alvin Luzon, commanding officer of the 53rd IB in a radio interview over the weekend said civilians living in the hinterlands are actively supporting the programs and activities pursued by the  Armed Forces of the Philippines—the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) or Bayanihan campaign.

“I acknowledge the efforts of residents and barangay folks for the cooperation and support in keeping their community free from NPA elements,” Luzon reported.

Luzon said when he received a report from local residents on the presence of armed men, he immediately sent troops in the area to check and validate it and found out that the report was true.

Luzon said the encounter, which resulted to the recovery of one (1) M16 rifle, several magazines and assorted live ammunitions, improvised explosive devices (IED), cartridges of 40mm, subversive documents, foodstuff and other personal belongings was attributed to the report of civilians in barangay Tiguha.

Meanwhile, Luzon said the NPA is already losing mass-base support because it uses force or coercion to get financial support from the masses. “The masses have appreciated the Comprehensive Livelihood Integration Program (CLIP) where it has provided surplus benefits to the surrenderees,” he added.

Under the CLIP, Luzon said, the government will provide immediate cash assistance to the NPA surrenderees to cover their basic needs and skills training. “They no longer hide in the mountains and will never experience difficult life like constant walking, sleepless nights and lack of food.”

He added that the NPA surrenderee is assured of a bright future because they will happily live with their family, send their children to school and provide for their basic needs.

It can be recalled that over 30 NPA regular members already surrendered to the 53IB due to the sustained combat operations of government troops and the growing social pressure for them to rejoin mainstream society.

“I am confident that in due time, the rest of the NPA rebels in the mountains will surrender to the government and live peaceful lives with their families,” Luzon concluded.