Rebel couple surrender to WESCOM, Gov. Alvarez in Palawan

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY-- A rebel couple belonging to the New People's Army (NPA) surrendered late Monday afternoon to the Western Command (WESCOM) and Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez in this city.

WESCOM OIC spokesperson Lt. Col. Sonny Gonzales told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the couple's surrender was facilitated by former northern Palawan Roxas town mayor Dennis Sabando.

The couple, whose names he refused to say for fear of reprisal by their comrades, were presented by Sabando to Governor Alvarez and WESCOM commander Lt. Gen. Raul del Rosario.

The surrender of the couple came after the Good Friday murder of Gilbert Baaco, the chief of Rescue 165, the Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO), and several other key pro-poor programs of the provincial government.

The NPA's Bienvenido Vallever Command claimed his summary execution was because he's a drug lord and a gunrunner, which Governor Alvarez denied.

Described to be in their 20s, the couple were promised full support by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the WESCOM, and the provincial government through the Comprehensive Local Integration Program or CLIP.

They will receive cash assistance along with trainings and seminars and other forms of support, such as livelihood, PhilHealth and scholarships grant especially if they have children, according to Governor Alvarez.

Gonzales said the couple surrendered because they are tired of the communist-terrorist movement and now want to raise a family, which they cannot do in peace as members of the NPA.

This is the second time members of the NPA in Palawan have surrendered to local authorities.

In February, seven members of the communist-terrorist movement also surrendered, and four of them were identified to be indigenous peoples (IPs) belonging to the Batak tribe.

Source: Philippines News Agency