7 NPA rebels yield in Surigao Norte
By Alexander Lopez / Philippine News Agency
BUTUAN CITY – Some seven communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels surrendered to the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) in Surigao del Norte over the weekend.
In a statement Monday, 30IB commander, Lt. Col. Ryan Charles Callanta, said the seven surrenderers are composed of five NPA regular fighters and two Milisya ng Bayan (MB) who returned to the fold of the law last June 19 in Gigaquit town.
Callanta identified the five NPA fighters as alias Jerson, a vice squad leader; alias Daylan, a political guide; alias Gelai; alias Jimjim; and alias Robert.
The two Militia ng Bayan were alias Ramon and alias Bernie.
“Fatigue, hunger and the longing to see their families pushed these NPA rebels to abandon the communist movement and return to the fold of the law,” Callanta said.
The seven were operating in the hinterlands of Surigao del Norte and parts of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Norte under the Guerrilla Front (GF) 16 C1 of the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee.
They also handed over to the Army several high-caliber firearms and ammunition.
The rebels also pinpointed a site in Sitio Tagbak in Carrascal, Surigao del Sur where two AK-47 rifles were hidden and recovered by authorities on Saturday.
Alias Jerson, in his testimony quoted in the same statement, recalled their difficulties in securing food supplies in communities.
“The masses are now afraid of the NPA rebels. We no longer get support from the communities. A number of our fighters also died in the recent encounters in the area. We were just waiting for when will be our turn to die. With the difficulties we could no longer bear, we decided to surrender,” Jerson said.
Callanta has recognized the support of the other stakeholders and community members in facilitating the safe surrender of the former NPA rebels.
“Through the help and support of the communities and families, we were able to inform the seven on the concepts of the enhanced comprehensive local integration program. Upon realizing the sincerity of the government to help them through the ECLIP program, the seven all together abandoned the terrorist NPA movement,” Callanta said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)