By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Tired of running and of hardship in the mountains made four heavily armed New People’s Army (NPA) fighters to surrender to authorities in Bukidnon province.
Maj. Frankjo C. Boral, Civil Military Operation (CMO) officer of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Battalion (1st SFBn), said the four armed NPA fighters also voluntarily gave up and handed over to the 1st SFBn their one M16 Armalite rifle, two Caliber 30 M1 Garand rifles, one Caliber 30 M1 Carbine rifle and one Caliber 30 Enfield rifle, all with live bullets.
The identities of those who surrendered are temporarily withheld for their safety and security, but Maj. Boral said all of them were former regular fighters of Guerilla Front 12 (GF 12) and Guerilla Front 68 (GF 68) of the CPP-NPA North-Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).
GF 12 operates in the boundaries of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Misamis Oriental provinces while GF 68 operates in west Bukidnon and northwestern part of Kitanglad Mountain Ranges, also in Bukidnon province.
Initially, they yielded to the operating units of the 1st SFBn last Thursday (Nov. 15) and were officially presented Tuesday to Lt. Col. Sergio P. Macarandan, Jr., commanding officer of the battalion.
“Their giving up to the government and surrendered firearms are tangible indicators of success in the government’s overall peace efforts in the area, the 1st SFBn commander also said.
“The significant number of cleared barangays through our Community Support Programs (CSPs) also shows the strong cooperation among the AFP, PNP, local government units and other governmental agencies in the area to get rid of terrorists and keep our communities safe,” he said.
“Hopefully by next year, we will see more communities within our area cleared from CNT influence,” Lt. Col. Macarandan added.
Meanwhile, the newly installed commander of 403rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade, Colonel Edgardo Y. De Leon also said the increasing average of their operations hitting the CNTs, the revelations by people of their whereabouts, and the increasing numbers of rebel returnees are indicative of the people’s rejection of the terrorists.
“In spite of our aggressive focused-military operations and CSPs, we are willing to help and accept them anytime they choose to return to the folds of the law. Everyone deserves to live a normal life and be with his family, especially this fast-approaching Christmas season. We encourage them to avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) which offers better financial and livelihood benefits and to get back to mainstream society and be with their loved ones,” De Leon said.