By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – An alleged Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) commander and his teammate voluntarily surrendered to the field troops of the Army’s 66th Infantry (Kabalikat) Battalion (66th IB) somewhere in New Bataan, Compostela Valley (ComVal) province, Capt. Jeshome O. Butt, acting Public Affairs Office (PAO) officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID) on Tuesday.
The team commander and his teammate were part of the NPA group operating in the area of Sub-regional Committee 1 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, the 10th ID acting CMO officer added.
Meanwhile, in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin late Monday afternoon, Capt. Rodel N. Bacani, Civil Military Operation (CMO) officer of the 66th IB, said, the CNT leader, whose identity was withheld for his safety and security, was a team commander of “Baking Primera Command” of Guerilla Front 25 (GF 25) of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command (SMRC).
The identity of his teammate was also withheld for security reason.
“Their surrender also led the 66th IB troops to recover an improvised 57 caliber anti-tank Recoilless Rifle (RR) and anti-personnel RR that CNT’s GF 15 and GF 25 used in several encounters with government troops in the past years,” Bacani said.
The surrenderers are still under investigation and debriefing in preparation of their enrollment into the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the government, he said.
Earlier this year, after a decisive encounter with 66th IB troops, 23 members of the Front’s original strength of 35 surrendered to the unit. The Guerilla Front 25 was then downgraded to a section committee, indicative that it is in the verge of being dismantled, Bacani claimed.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Palmer M. Parungao, commanding officer of the 66th IB, revealed that most of those who surrendered to the battalion have created in their lives peace and a bright future.
“Some of them were even accepted and trained to be members of the civilian auxiliary or CAA. Together, these former rebels and the 66th IB is in the thrust of enticing more surrenders,” Parungao added.