By Francis T. Wakefield
Nineteen New People’s Army rebels voluntyarily surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-NoLCom) in Mountain Province last Thursday.
NoLCom Spokesman and Public Affairs chief Lt. Col. Isagani Nato said the surrenderees were composed of two NPA regular armed fighters and 17 Militia ng Bayan (MB) or Peoples Militia.
The NPAs also turned over two firearms and were turned over to the Paracelis police station for safe keeping.
Nato said the two regular NPAs are residents of Ifugao and Mountain Province operating in the Cagayan area, while the 17 others are from Cagayan Valley.
The surrender of the suspected NPA members, according to Nato, was made possible through the negotiations made by joint elements of Saliok Patrol Base under the 77IB (CAFGU), 503rd Bde, 54IB, all under the Joint Task Force (JTF) TALA of the 5th ID and the Paracelis Municipal Police Station (MPS) of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Nato said he expects more communist rebels to surrender in the coming days, as NolCom units relentlessly pursue the conduct of Focused Military Operations (FMO) in their identified sanctuaries.
“NPA members intending to lay down their arms and join the mainstream of society, for them to have a normal and peaceful life with their families, are welcome,” Nato said.