KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/17 July) – The New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in Cotabato has no plans to execute members who have surrendered to government, a rebel leader said in a statement on Monday.
Ka Dencio Madrigal, spokesperson of the NPA’s Valentine Palamine Regional Operations Command – Far South Mindanao called an “utter fabrication” the recent claim of 19th Infantry Battalion commander Lt Col Elrick Paraso that the rebels have threatened to kill surrenderees.
Madrigal said Paraso was just “creating stories” to hide the military’s alleged threats against civilians who are accused as NPA members or supporters.
“The AFP’s ostensive concern for the alleged ‘purging’ is a ploy to hold the NPA accountable for the looming escalation of extra-judicial killings of activists and civilians,” he said.
The 19th IB covers Kidapawan City and the towns of Magpet, Antipas, Arakan, and President Rojas in North Cotabato.
Last week, at least 16 alleged former NPA rebels from Magpet received cash assistance from the local government, some four months after they surrendered.
The distribution of cash assistance took place days after three suspected NPA rebels from Tugbok district in Davao City died in a clash with the 19th IB in Barangay Don Panaca, Magpet.
Paraso said more NPA guerrillas in North Cotabato wanted to surrender but were afraid of being killed by their comrades.
The 19th IB said at least 40 NPA guerrillas have yielded to the government since they were assigned in North Cotabato in 2017. Many of them already received cash and other assistance through the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)