Ten cadres of the New People’s Army waging war with government forces have surrendered, handing over high-powered firearms to military officials in Iligan City and Davao Occidental.
The 10 NPA rebels were part of Guerilla Front 71 operating in the outskirts of Malita town, Davao Occidental and in the hinterlands of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. They decided to return to the folds of the law separately to army officials Wednesday and Sunday.
In Iligan City, six NPA members voluntarily turned over an M4 carbine rifle, one Ingram sub-machine gun, a caliber .22 and caliber .45 pistols an acceptance rites presided by Lt. Col. Jasper Edward Obar, commander of the Army’s 51st Infantry Battalion.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Sedano, chief of the 2nd Mechanized Brigade which has jurisdiction over the 51st IB, said that the NPAs will be given appropriate economic benefits from the government.
“We will ensure for their enrollment to the Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government for them to return into the mainstream society,” Sedano said.
In Sarangani province, four NPAs from Guerilla Front 71 yielded to the troops of the 73rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan and Barangay Little Baguio, Malita, Davao Occicdental.
Col. Marion Ancao, commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion, identified the rebels a certain Klawag, and Rebred, both residents of Barangay Upper Suyan; Jason and Rusi of Barangay Kiham.
The four NPAs handed over an M16 rifle, a .38 pistol, one carbine and caliber .357mm pistol.
Ancao said the rebels decided to yield because they claimed that the NPA leadership failed to provide family support, coupled by the hardships they had experienced.
“Suporta para sa pamilya
was not there. All we experienced are hardship, hunger and fear,” said Ancao, quoting the rebels.
He said that the increasing number of NPA surrenderees brings hope that the NPA force will weaken soon.
“The continuous armed struggle will only bring death, misery, anger, and poverty. The people of Sarangani deserve to have a peaceful environment,” said Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., commander of 10th Infantry Division.
In other developments, the military, backed by police, has launched a manhunt against communist rebels who ambushed government forces in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat on Thursday morning.
According to Major. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), two soldiers of the 2nd Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT-2), were slightly injured in the 8:30 a.m. ambush in Sitio Ugangawon, Barangay Datu Ito Andong of Kalamansig town.
“The ambush displayed the New People’s Army’s [NPA] insincerity in talking peace with the Duterte administration,” Sobejana said.
The Marines are working under the area of responsibility of the 6ID in Sultan Kudarat with the two injured soldiers being part of the Marine unit conducting a patrol in Barangay Datu Ito Andong.
Sobejana, citing reports from MBLT-2 of the 1st Marine Brigade based in Kalamansig, said the Marines were on board a KM-450 military truck passing by Sitio Ugangawon, Barangay Datu Ito when an anti-personnel mine exploded.
The blast was followed by a series of gun fire from communist rebels positioned at an elevated portion of the highway. As the Marines returned fire, the terrorists quickly fled deep into the forest.
A follow-up operation led to the recovery of an anti-personnel mine at the blast site.
Sobejana, also chief of the military-led Task Force Central, has directed troops to intensify operations against NPA rebels who repeatedly tried to harass government forces.
Recently, the rebels torched several heavy equipment of a construction firm on road projects in Barangay Hinalaan, Kalamansig, for refusal to pay revolutionary taxes. Destruction of civilian-owned equipment has nothing to do with AFP operations.
“These terrorist acts must be stopped, the military will not allow this to continue,” Sobejana said.
The US and the EU have declared the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines, meanwhile, said that with the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in full blast, it is now time for dissatisfied New People’s Army (NPA) communist rebels to surrender.
“Our advice is for them to get out and surrender while they can and avail of the government’s E-CLIP. They will be accorded the relocation and security for their safety. It’s the best time to change the course of their lives. Abandon the armed struggle and take charge of your future,” stressed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato said.
Commenting on reports that many rebel fighters want to surrender but are afraid to do so due to threats from their erstwhile comrades, Detoyato said the NPA is known to deal harshly with those thinking of surrendering to government forces.
“They are always being guarded and watched. They are also threatened. This was the same scenario when they conducted ‘Oplan Ahos’, which resulted in countless deaths, which was done to get rid of those who were suspected to be spies,” he added.
“Oplan Ahos” took place from 1985 to 1986 and resulted in the death of an estimated 600 rebels in Mindanao.
The E-CLIP is the flagship program of the Duterte administration that seeks to effect social healing and national unity through a whole-of-nation approach towards the higher objective of having just and lasting peace.
It provides social equity to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA – National Democratic Front and the Militia ng Bayan by devising a different mode of providing benefits and services to the former rebels (FRs), to reintegrate them into mainstream society.
These benefits do not serve as an end, but rather a means to aid the FRs in securing a foothold in restarting their lives.
The NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) armed wing, is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union.
Gov’t can secure surrendering NPA rebels: Lorenzana
By Priam Nepomuceno January 25, 2019, 12:41 pm Share
As this developed, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the government and the military are more than ready to secure members of the CPP-NPA who are ready to surrender and rejoin their loved ones and families in mainstream society.
Lorenzana issued the statement when asked if the government and the military are capable of protecting NPA members who want to surrender but are afraid to go ahead with their plan due to threats from their comrades.
“Sure we can. We have people in all areas ready to help them: the local elected officials, police, military, DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), in fact the whole government machinery.”
Earlier, the defense chief said the threat posed by the CPP-NPA is waning, due to the localized peace talks and Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
These strategies are responsible for the surrender of NPA regular members and supporters last year.
Lorenzana earlier said that the NPA is no longer a formidable force as its numbers have been greatly reduced.
“They are not that strong because their number is only about less than 6,000. About 1,000 armed rebels (have) already surrendered, so the remaining is 4,000. But their militia is big -- those who support them. If we reckon, we estimate that there are about 50,000 nationwide militia who support them. These militia are what we want to get,” he added. With PNA