By Danny J. Estacio, Ruel Saldico and Niño N. Luces
Camp Nakar, Quezon/Legazpi City, Albay — Twenty-two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, including a high-ranking guerrilla, surrendered to the Philippine Army (PA) in Barangay Rangas, Juban, Sorsogon last Sunday, the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) reported yesterday.
Lieutenant General Danilo Pamonag, SOLCOM commander, said the 22 members of the NPA’s Sub-Regional Yunit Guerrilla, Komiteng Probinsya 3-Sorsogon under Jeffrey Benzon Q. Hazel, alias “Pita,” surrendered with their firearms – an M-653 rifle, an M-14 rifle; a KG9; a Carbine rifle; and three .45-caliber pistols – at 1:30 p.m.
Their surrender to the army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade was made through the 31st Infantry Battalion (31 IB), according to brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Greg Almerol.
Last Monday, the surrenderers were presented before the Joint Task Force Bicolandia by Major General Jesus Manangquil, Jr., commander of the army’s 9th Infantry Division (9ID) based in Pili, Camarines Sur, for inclusion in the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).
The ceremony was held at the Tactical Operations Group 5 (TOG-5) headquarters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in Legazpi City.
Manangquil quoted the highest-ranking guerrilla who surrendered – identified only as alias “Fred” – as saying that hunger and family issues have prompted them to return to the fold of the law.