GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 August) — A wounded New People’s Army (NPA) rebel has surrendered to government troops in Sarangani Province after reportedly being abandoned by his comrades, an Army official said.
Col. Roberto Ancan, commander of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said the rebel yielded nearly a month after being seriously wounded in an encounter with troops from the 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB) in Sitio Paglidong, Barangay Little Baguio, Malita town in Davao Occidental.
He said the rebel, whose identity was withheld for security reasons, belonged to the NPA’s Front 71.
“He decided to surrender due to the hardships he was facing after being left by his comrades in the mountains,” he said.
Ancan said their troops are currently treating the wounded NPA surrenderer in an undisclosed location in Sarangani.
He said they were supposed to evacuate him through a chopper on Thursday but was rescheduled to Saturday due to weather problems.
73IB troops have intensified their security operations in the last two weeks in the mountains of Alabel and Malapatan towns in Sarangani due to reported harassment by NPA rebels in local communities.
“Our units are currently conducting community security patrols to ensure peace and security in these areas,” Ancan said.
1Lt. Daryll Cansancio, 73IB spokesperson, said their units have figured in a series of encounters with the rebels since Aug. 3.
He said the major clashes ensued in portions of Barangays Upper Suyan and Kihan in Malapatan that left a rebel dead and three others wounded.
Cansancio said their troops responded to the area following reports of renewed extortion activities by the rebels on civilians.
He said they recovered a landmine unit and a backpack containing personal valuables and subversive documents from the lone fatality, who was identified as Jimmy Tumbo, 22, a resident of Sitio Akbual, Barangay Upper Suyan in Malapatan.
There were no casualties so far from the government side, he said.
As a result of the clashes, more than 30 families have evacuated from Sitio Akbual and the neighboring areas.
Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said the local government has initially sent five days of food and relief rations to the affected residents.
He said the rations, which were sent via chooper, comprise rice, canned goods, medicines and other essential relief items. (MindaNews)