TACURONG CITY (MindaNews/7 March) – Ten New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have surrendered to the government due to the ongoing military pressure against the group in the remote borders of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces, military officials said on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Oliver Baylon, commander of the 1st Marine Battalion Landing Team-7 (MBLT-7), said the communist rebels returned to the folds of the law on Tuesday with the help of officials in Barangay Rifao, Upi town in Maguindanao.
He said the surrenderees belong to the Squad Primera led by Cesar Marcos Manguda, alias Commander Amina/Alas of the Cherry Mobile Platoon under Guerrilla Front 73, which is operating in the municipalities of Lebak and Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat province.
Since last month, 15 NPA rebels have surrendered to the MBLT-7 due to the continuous military operations in the area, Baylon said.
The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is classified as a terrorist organization by the Philippine and the United States governments.
The latest batch of NPA surrenderees was presented to Brigadier General Eugenio Hernandez, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, North Upi Mayor Ramon Piang and Mayor Reynalbert Insular of South Upi at the headquarters of MBLT-7 in Sitio Plateau, Barangay Mirab in Upi town along with their high-powered firearms.
They surrendered, among others, two AK-47 rifles, an M-16 rifle, a hand grenade and assorted ammunition, a report from the 6th Infantry Division said.
The five earlier NPA surrenderees, who belong to the Dulangan-Manobo tribe, have received financial assistance under the Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), it added.
Major General Cirilito E. Sobejana, commander of the 6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central, said the latest surrenderees can also avail of the E-CLIP after validation that they were indeed NPA members.
“Our intensified efforts through combat operations and information disseminations against terrorist group with the support of all local chief executives and other stakeholders encouraged more the rebels to surrender,” Sobejana said in a statement.
The official urged active NPA rebels to return to the folds of the law for them to start a new life and live peacefully with their families. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)