GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 Feb) — Two more alleged New People’s Army (NPA) rebels surrendered over the weekend to government troops in Sarangani Province.
1Lt. Daryl Cansancio, Alpha Company commander of the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB), said Monday the rebels yielded to their community support team on Saturday evening in Sitio Akbual, Barangay Upper Suyan in Malapatan town.
He only identified the alleged returnees as alias Joshua, who was listed as a squad leader of the NPA’s Front 71, of Barangay Pag-asa in Alabel town and alias Margas of Barangay Upper Suyan.
The two, who reportedly joined the NPA two years ago, surrendered an M-16 Armalite rifle and an AK47 rifle, he said.
Cansancio said the rebels decided to surrender following a series of negotiations led by troops under its community support program.
“They mainly surrendered due to the difficult situation in the mountains as a result of the intensified military operations,” he said in a radio interview.
He said the two were also disillusioned with their cause, especially in terms of the treatment of fellow indigenous peoples or lumads.
Since last month, at least nine NPA rebels under the Front 71 have surrendered to troops in parts of Sarangani Province.
On Thursday last week, three rebels yielded to the 73IB in Barangay Pag-asa, Alabel town following an encounter in the outskirts of Malapatan.
They were identified as alias Mateo of Poblacion in Alabel, alias Levi of Olutanga Island in Zamboanga Sibugay and alias Junie of Sitio Kidalagan, Barangay Datu Danwata, Malita town in Davao Occidental.
The three surrendered two M16 rifles and an AK47 rifle.
Cansancio said they are currently processing the necessary documents to facilitate the enrolment of the returnees into the Comprehensive Local Integration Program or CLIP and the release of immediate assistance from the provincial government of Sarangani.
CLIP reintegrates former rebels into the social mainstream and uplifts their socio-economic conditions to enable them to become active partners in local development.
The program also seeks to contribute towards the achievement of the goal of permanent peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups.
Cansancio said the returnees will receive livelihood assistance and additional cash benefits for the surrendered firearms. (MindaNews)