The 5th Infantry (Star) Division, Philippine Army presented 85 Former Rebels (FRs) to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his visit at Headquarters, Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela last September 18, 2018.
The Commander-in-Chief, Armed Forces of the Philippines visited the camp to check the Star Troopers condition after the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong, and to see for himself the FRs from Northern Luzon.
Major General Perfecto M Rimando Jr, Commander, 5ID presented the 85 former rebels among the 140 actual surrenderers in the area of 5ID from 1st Quarter to 3rd Quarter of this year. This is also to convey the message that significant number of CNT surrenders is not only happening in Mindanao, but all over the Philippines to include Northern Luzon where the 5ID is operating. The 85 FRs presented were composed of 75 males and 10 females. Moreover, the said FRs were composed of 23 Regulars and 62 Militiang Bayan (MB) from different provinces of Cordillera and Region 2 who decided to return to the folds of the law and live peacefully with their families.
The President also handed cash assistance amounting to P10,000.00 and relief items to each of the FRs, for knowing that they were also victims of the recent typhoon.
Ramon, one of the FRs from Isabela, expressed his appreciation to the effort and sincerity of the President. “Diak ninamnama nga adda ti ited ni President Duterte a daga, malaksid iti immuna a naitulong na kaniami”, he said. (I did not expect that the President will give us land, aside from the benefits we have already received.)
The president also cited the gradual downfall of the CNTs’ groups in Mindanao, and expected that the group (CNT) will be crushed by 2nd quarter of 2019 because of the massive surrender of their cadres and sympathizers.
He (PRRD) also commended the Officers and men of 5ID, that despite of the large area to cover and three of its Battalions are deployed in Mindanao, the Command was able to deliver its services and on the right track in attaining the objectives of its campaign and mission, citing the number of FRs and the firearms presented.
Meanwhile, MGen Rimando Jr, appreciated the concern of the President to the Star Troopers. “The President’s visit is a manifestation of his genuine concern to the welfare of the Filipino people, particularly to the FRs who once fought the government, but now find their way to be productive partner for peace and development,” MGen Rimando Jr said.
Some government officials who accompanied the President during his visit to H5ID were: Special Assistant to the President Bong Go; Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Arthur Tabaquero; Under Secretary for Civil, Veterans and Retiree Affairs and the Head of Task Force Balik- Loob, Reynaldo Mapagu; Gen Carlito G Galvez Jr, Chief of Staff, AFP; and Lt Gen Rolando Joselito D Bautista, Commanding General, PA.