21 NPA rebels yield in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 18 May) — Twenty-one more New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, including four unit leaders, have surrendered to police and Army personnel in South Cotabato province.

Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said the rebels, who were formally presented to local officials and the media on Monday, voluntarily yielded along with several weapons following a series of negotiations.

He said they were received last Friday by personnel from the South Cotabato Police Mobile Force Company (SCMFC), Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB) and the Banga municipal police station during community support activities dubbed “Kapwa Ko, Sagot Ko” held in Barangay Kalkam, Tupi and Barangay Lambingi in Banga.

These were part of the initiatives launched by the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office and the 27IB in line with their continuing joint internal security operations, he said.

Capellan said the returnees were formerly under the Roxas Range Company and West Musa or Brigol Company of the NPA’s Guerilla Fronts 72 and 73, respectively.

He said they were led by Benancio Ulaman Julan alias “Jerick,” the commanding officer of Platoon West, and Yunit Militia or Yumil commanders Ervin Saling Ferrer alias “Rayo,” Jemmy Biolanda Magbanua alias “Bolit” and Hasan Pagayao Saling alias “Ading.”

The other surrenderers were identified as Nelson Tang Olin, Shiela Mae Ticao Olin, Santos Salam Abad, Jay-R Atam Abad, Ariel Jodis Pascua, Ker-Ker Saling Bangon,  Johnny Sabal Pungol, Ryan Caspillo Sabal, Joey Saling Paulite Jr., Abdul Pagayao Saling, Bazer Lintang Mampurok, Michael Digo Balao, Jomel Negil Panoy, Jim Endig Ofong, Nazer Lintang Mampurok, Danny Gambin Dati and Arsenio Kanahay Maling.

Capellan said the rebels surrendered four homemade 12-gauge shotgun, a loaded M2 Carbine rifle, an improvised M14 bolt action rifle, homemade single-shot pistolized shotgun, 40mm “high-explosive, dual purpose” cartridge, M26 fragmentation hand grenade, MK2 fragmentation grenade, PRB high-explosive fragmentation grenade and assorted ammunition.

“They also brought along 10 subversive textbooks and documents,” he said in a report.

The surrenderers are currently under the custody of the SCPMFC and will undergo processing for inclusion into the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), he said.

Through the program, he said the returnees will receive financial and livelihood assistance from local and national government agencies.

Brig. Gen. Alfred Corpus, PRO-12 director, assured in a statement that they will assist the reintegration of the former rebels into their communities.

“This will be the start of their fruitful and productive journey. Rest assured that we are more than willing and prepared to help them as they restart their lives with their families,” he said.

He urged the remaining active NPA rebels in the area to also surrender and avail of the government’s reintegration program. (MindaNews)