Task force head lauds recovery of rebel remains; calls for surrender of remaining NPAs

Task Force Balik-Loob Head Usec. Reynaldo B. Mapagu speaks to an FR during the awarding of E-CLIP benefits in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat earlier. (Courtesy of TFBL Facebook Page)

CALOOCAN CITY, Jan. 27 (PIA) -- The chairperson of Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) expressed his appreciation to the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and former rebels (FRs) who cooperated with the military in the discovery and recovery of the remains of a former rebel last January 23, 2021.

The former rebels helped in locating the remains of a New People’s Army (NPA) member who perished in an encounter with government forces in 2017.

Department of National Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu emphasized the importance of convergence in the success of the said operation.

One former rebel pointed to the specific location of the shallow grave of Justine Bautista, alias Aira, at Sitio Kapanisuwan, Barangay Bitag Grande in Baggao, Cagayan. Alias Aira was part of Political Guide of the Northern Front Regional Committee in Cagayan Valley and a former student of Cagayan State University, as well as a member of Kabataan and College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines.

Usec. Mapagu conveyed his condolences to the family of alias Aira and was saddened by what she experienced in the hands of the communists who abandoned her in a shallow grave.

“She deserved more than how the NPA treated her. Her family needs to be able to pay their last respects and have closure,” the TFBL chair said.

He added his wish to put an end to the recruitment of the youth in the communist organization to avoid such an ill-fated occurrence. “It is our hope that the insurgency in the country will end soon through the surrender of the remaining NPA rebels. And the cooperation between the military and former rebels and other stakeholders will certainly help in attaining this,” Usec. Mapagu added.

Usec. Mapagu also commended the AFP for their continuous and relentless assistance to the FRs who help them from the moment they surrendered until the time they received their benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), a program for members of the New People’s Army that returned to the fold of the law. Usec. Mapagu said that the military remains a part of the lives of the rebel returnees as they regularly monitor them through the Enhanced Former Rebel Information System (E-FRIS). (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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