(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 29 May 2024) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "AGHON" {EWINIAR} was estimated based on all available data at 850 km East Northeast of Extreme Northern Luzon (23.1°N, 129.7°E) with maximum sustained winds of 130 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 160 km/h. It is moving Northeastward at 20 km/h. Southwesterly Windflow affecting the western section of the country. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from South to Southwest will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Wednesday, 8 May 2024

Peace council provides humanitarian aid to 51 former rebels in Surigao Sur

By Nida Grace P. Barcena 

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur (PIA) -- The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Surigao del Sur chaired by Governor Alexander T. Pimentel released humanitarian aid to 51 former rebels (FRs) on May 1 in Tandag City.

The FRs used to be members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) Terrorist (CNT) who surrendered to the government.

Each surrenderer received humanitarian aid consisting of financial assistance worth P5,000 and family food packs from the provincial government.

Further, some committee members of the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) were present to look into the services and programs that the surrenderers may qualify for, as each of them will undergo a thorough process of validation for their possible enrollment in the E-CLIP, a government program designed to provide a complete package of assistance to the FRs, their families, and communities.

On May 1, 2024, Surigao del Sur Governor Alexander T. Pimentel, as chairperson of the Provincial Peace and Order Council, alongside the Philippine National police and the Philippine Army, presented the 51 former rebels to the council as another fruitful effort of the provincial government and stakeholders in their endeavor to make Surigao del Sur insurgency-free. The former rebels gladly received humanitarian aid from the government as the initial step of their transformation journey of choosing peace.

The activity highlighted the formal presentation of the 51 CNT surrenderers by officials of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police.

901st Brigade Commander Arsenio Sadural disclosed that 12 of them were identified as two high-ranking officials who recently surrendered to the troops of the 36th Infantry Battalion in Carmen town in Surigao del Sur.

BGen. Francisco Lorenzo Jr., commanding officer of 401st Brigade, also presented five surrenderers who sought help from the 75IB, while three found refuge from the Special Forces Battalion.

Police BGen. Kirby John B. Kraft, on the other hand, presented the remaining 31 CNT surrenderers from the different units in Surigao del Sur during the event.

36th Infantry "Valor" Battalion led by Lt. Col. Vincent Viray identified the two high-ranking CNT leaders as Joel Maca Mahinay alias Nicko/Manu, the deputy secretary, and his wife named Linebeth Mahinay alias Dayding/Jeva, the finance/logistic officer, of the weakened Guerilla Front 30 (WGF30), Sub-Regional Committee Westland (SRC WL) of the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).

The two high ranking CNT officials surrendered along with their four members to the government troops of the 36th IB, under the 901st Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry Diamond Division, Philippine Army.  

According to Viray, the CTG members also gave up 12 high-powered firearms, including three M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, four CZ858 rifles, one M4 carbine rifle, one Bushmaster rifle, one grenade launcher, and other items such as 16 rifle magazines, hundreds of ammunition, and bandoliers.

On May 1, 2024, during the presentation of the 51 former rebels in the province of Surigao del Sur, the 36th Infantry "Valor" Battalion also presented the high-powered firearms that were also surrendered to the government by the FRs.

“The decision made by alias Nicko and his wife Dayding to choose peace and go back to the government, being the last remaining prominent leaders, proved a continuous CTG decline which marked the end of WG30,” Viray noted.

In an interview with alias Nicko, a high-ranking leader who surrendered, he said, “The relentless operations strategically spurred by the government forces, following the withdrawal of support from the masses, was among the reasons that motivated them to surrender.”

“The lack of support from their highest headquarters also weakened the strength of the terrorist group, where hunger has been felt while struggling during combat operations,” Nicko narrated.

It can also be recalled that on March 9, 2024, four members of the CNT surrendered to the government, thus, a total of 10 surrenderers were recorded in just two months for the 36IB.

The provincial government of Surigao del Sur sustains its efforts, together with the PPOC and other stakeholders to support the FRs in their transformation journey as they embrace peace over violence.  (NGPB/PIA-Surigao del Sur)