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8ID Command gets trust from Eastern Samar Guv, welcomes returnees

April 21, 2011

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  A productive Monday morning marked the halls of the Office of Eastern Samar Governor Conrado Nicart when he welcomed the 8th ID leadership of the Armed forces of the Philippines headed by MGen Mario F. Chan in a pre-arranged meeting that somehow concretized the peace efforts in the locality.

NPA surrenderee spouses Gelita and Marvin Capones (right) during the presscon at the Capitol’s SP session hall. (PIA E Samar with 8th ID)

The meeting, facilitated only last Saturday, was a manifestation of Gov. Nicart’s trust and confidence in the AFP leadership.

In the said occasion, Nicart presented to the group two ranking officials who have worked with the underground movement of the New People’s Army since 2002.

The surrenderees were identified as Marvin Deo Capones alias Saga/Red, Vice Commander, Provincial Operational Command, Eastern Samar Provincial Party Committee (ESPPC) of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) and his wife, Jelita Capones alias Daisy/Onan, Medical Officer of the ESPPC, EVRPC.

Jelita took charge of the health needs of their members and the mass base in the area. On the other hand, Marvin was a political instructor/organizer deployed at the Northeastern portion of Samar particularly in Taft, Can-avid, Dolores, Oras, Jipapad, Arteche and Maslog. Both of them joined the group when they were yet students.

The governor was said to be aware of his niece’s involvement in the NPA when he was yet a mayor at San Policarpo. According to him, surrender feelers were made through his relatives. Immediately, Nicart took time to locate the whereabouts of the couple and coordinated with the military for security concerns.

The couple appealed that their presence should not be required by the military in their massive information dissemination campaigns and as guide in military operations. In response, the commanding General encouraged the couples to share their experiences and assessments in the underground movement by giving feedbacks as to the real needs of the communities where they worked with so that the LGU can also respond to them.

“To live a normal life without any fear for our lives especially that we already have an eight-month old child whose future we cannot be assured if we continue serving the movement” was the primary reason of the Capones’ couple for the peaceful surrender. It was learned that they have stopped in actively participating in the NPA activities for almost a year now but they’re still worried regarding their security since their names are not yet cleared in the military’s intelligence reports.

Marvin Capones said that their presence in the said meeting is a clear manifestation that they have already given up the ideologies that they have fought for in the past. He is convinced that if he continues serving the underground movement, he cannot give a brighter future for his family.

“Sobra ka idealistic an akon panhuna-huna ngan deri ko gin eexpect nga makuri an pagpamilya ha sakob para han kabubuwason. Bisan ano an amon yaknon yana, it amon aksiyon mas dako kontra hiton amon pulong yana pa la. Kun mapukaw na hira, magdecide hira, huna hunaon nira an future han ira pamilya” (I was so idealistic at that time and I didn’t expect that it won’t be easy to raise a family and plan a better future for them when you’re  with the movement. Whatever I say now, it’s still our act of surrendering that has more weight than the things that I will be saying. If ever, you should first consider your family’s future before deciding to join the group), were the exact words of Marvin when asked about the lessons that he has learned from the experience.

Gen. Chan welcomed this development as a new aspect of solving insurgency not through a combat score but more on a peaceful process by encouraging people who are in the armed struggle to peacefully surrender to the folds of the law. Chan informed that all local government units in the province have already incorporated in their programs the giving of livelihood packages to rebels who intend to go back to the mainstream.

He particularly stressed on the role of the Municipal Peace and Order Councils that provide livelihood assistance programs to rebel returnees.

Chan is also hopeful that a radial road that would interconnect the boundaries of the three provinces amounting to 4.2 Billion pesos will be prioritized. Likewise, the need for airports and seaports are essentials to economic development and growth. These are expected to provide jobs and livelihood opportunities to the constituents.

In accordance with the IPSP Bayanihan program of the AFP, a consultative process in pursuing peace efforts is currently being undertaken by the AFP. An assurance for a full support in the pursuit of local peace efforts is likewise extended to the LGUs. Accordingly, no combat efforts will be made without the approval of the chief executives.

“May this be the start of the continued inflow of those in the hills for a more productive Eastern Samar and with a concerted effort in improving the quality of life of our people, maybe we can put in a dream that someday in the future we will have busy streets, with airports busier than Cebu City and a seaport. Hopefully, not a single one in your place will be “tambay” (idle) in the street where we are not thinking of fighting each other but helping each other to generate more income for everyone for a convenient and comfortable life, but a way into going a global competitiveness in the many aspects of our lives and sana marating natin yun” was the inspiring final message of Gen Chan.

Meanwhile, Gov. Nicart thanked everyone for their presence and call on each and every public servant and government official to accord every Estehanon the respect. Their concerns should be attended promptly without partiality, he added. They should be given the due protection of the law and should be treated fairly and equally so we can encourage more of these people to go back to the folds of the law and have a peaceful community.