Duterte leads decommissioning of NPA breakaway faction's forces, firearms

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2019 10:30 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday led the historic decommissioning of arms and forces of the the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas - Revolutionary Proletarian Army - Alex Boncayao Brigade - Tabara-Paduano Group (RPMP-RPA-ABB-TPG) at the headquarters of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army here in Jamindan, Capiz.

The RPMP-RPA-ABB-TPG, now known as the Kapatiran sa Progresibong Lipunan, is a breakaway faction of the communist (NPA) New People’s Army. 

The group signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 2000.

As part of the peace agreement, 727 members of the Kapatiran from Negros, Aklan, Bukidnon, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Luzon and Mindanao were decommissioned, while 337 firearms previously surrendered to the government were "demilitarized" onsite.

The former rebels were also presented socio-economic assistance from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Housing Authority, Philhealth, the local government of Aklan and TESDA as part of efforts towards their social and economic reintegration. This includes a start-up provision of shelter through the assistance of the National Housing Authority.

Other commitments of the government and the Kapatiran that were enumerated in the Clarificatory Implementing Document signed last July include the full transformation of Kapatiran into a civilian organization engaging in socio-economic and political activities, and the release of remaining political offenders.

In his speech, Defense Undersecretary Cesar Yano said the decommissioning of RPM-RPA-ABB armed forces is a major step representing the Kapatiran's commitment to peace, reintegration to society & renouncing of armed struggle.

The President likewise acknowledged the importance of the day’s event towards the achievement of lasting peace in the country.

“I encourage all [727] returnees to take advantage of this opportunity to start anew and lead a productive life with your families and loved ones. Be assured of the government’s full support for your reintegration to the mainstream society,” Duterte said.
 
“I urge all concerned parties to continue working together to ensure that the fruits of the years of peace negotiations will not go to waste.”