KIDAPAWAN CITY(MindaNews / 07 July) — At least 10 suspected members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) have surrendered to the 19thInfantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in North Cotabato since March, Lt. Col. Elrick Paraso, 19thIB commander, said.
According to Paraso, the former NPA guerrillas realized that living in the hinterlands and fighting government will only make their lives miserable.
“I know a lot of the NPA rebels wanted to surrender but were only prevented by their leaders. But to the NPAs: Don’t follow what your leaders say. Think about your family. Think about your future,” he said.
Paraso has since intensified his campaign to persuade and encourage the NPA to return to the mainstream and live a new life.
He explained the government is willing to support any rebel who would decide to leave the guerilla organization through the Enhanced Comprehensive Livelihood Integrated Program (E-CLIP).
In an interview over Radyo Bida in Kidapawan City, Paraso gave their mobile hotline 09356121207 so people could connect with the Army in North Cotabato.
“Any information leading to the surrender of the NPA will be treated with utmost confidentiality,” he said.
Paraso made the announcement after a successful patrol operation against the NPA in Barangay Don Panaca, Magpet where three suspected rebels were killed.
“It only started when our supporters texted us using our mobile hotline. We verified the text. After we confirmed it to be true, we launched the operation. We became successful because of the strong community support,” he explained.
The military said Barangay Don Panaca is among the areas in Magpet the NPAs use as base.(Malu Cadelina Manar / Mindanews)