KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 10 Aug) – A couple who claimed they were active members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) yielded to the Army in Magpet, North Cotabato on Thursday.
2Lt Angelique Taban, head of civil military operations of the 19th Infantry Battalion, identified the surrenderees only by their aliases: George and Joan.
Taban said both were members of the NPA Front Guerilla 53 and Pulang Bagani Command 3 (PBC 3), whose operations include the hinterland towns of Magpet, Antipas, Arakan, President Roxas, and Kidapawan City, in North Cotabato.
The couple was reportedly accompanied by their village chieftain, Ronald Pelonio of Barangay Manobo in Magpet, when they decided to yield to 1Lt Prolen Bonacua, commanding officer of the 19IB’s Alpha Company.
“Ka George has already acquired a higher post in the guerilla movement, yet, because of hardships and in-fighting between and among themselves, he decided to leave the organization. His wife joined him in his surrender,” said Taban.
To date, the number of NPA rebels that yielded to the 19IB since their deployment in North Cotabato in 2017 rose to 54.
The couple George and Joan were the latest addition to the surrenderees, according to Taban.
Lt. Col. Ehrlich Noel Paraso, 19IB commander, said the couple will enroll in the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to prepare them as they go back to their community.
The military commander has also called on other NPA members who are still in the mountains to return to the folds of the law so they could avail of the government’s various livelihood programs. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)