Surrender of more rebels signals collapse of NPA in Leyte
By Sarwell Meniano / Philippine News Agency
TACLOBAN CITY – The pledge of allegiance to the government of 32 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) will lead to the collapse of the communist terrorist group in Leyte Island, a military official said on Tuesday.
Col. Noel Vestuir, deputy commander of the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade, said in a statement the move will encourage more rebels and their staunch allies to abandon the communist ideology.
“The series of surrender would snowball into the eventual total collapse of the communist terrorism movement in the island of Leyte,” Vestuir said.
On October 16, at least 32 former rebels took their oath of allegiance to the Philippine government before Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez at the city hall lobby.
These former rebels surrendered to the military in the past two months.
Witnessing the event are 300 former rebels and supporters from Ormoc and towns of Kananga, Albuera, and Jaro, who also availed basic services from government agencies.
They are all members of the Integrated Peace and Development Workers Associations (IPDWAs).
“The yielding of the 32 lie-low NPA personalities was a product of the sole and painstaking efforts of the Ormoc IPDWA that is composed of local rebel returnees under the leadership of Conrado Labartine,” Vestuir added.
Of the 32 surrenderers, 19 of them are from Quezon Jr. village, eight from Lake Danao village, three from Hugpa village, and one each from San Antonio and Can-untog villages.
They were identified as former NPA district committee members, chairman of the Batakang Organisasyon sa Partido, regular fighters, special operation group element, Yunit Militia members, propaganda organizing team operator, runner, para-legal, and underground mass organization followers.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)