AFP-EastMinCom welcomes mass surrender

Published March 26, 2019, 10:23 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Francis Wakefield

The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom) Tuesday welcomed the mass surrender of 64 Communist NPA Terrorist Group (CNTG) regular members and supporters who yielded to the Community Support Team of the Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division (ID), on March 22, 2019, as victory of convergence and peace.

This was the assessment made by Lt. General Felimon T. Santos Jr., EastMinCom Chief, after Maj. Gen. General Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, the Commander of 4th ID, attributed in his report the exodus to the relentless combat operations and continuous “peaceful war” of reaching out to the communities, Community Support Programs, and the unwavering assistance of the Local Government Units and Local Government Agencies.

“This is the result if stakeholders of peace work together, marching in unison to attain peace in every community. Indeed, this is the victory of convergence and victory of peace,” Santos said.

The 27 NPA regular members together with 13 Militia ng Bayan yielded with the help of Barangay Officials of Mampi, Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur (SDS). Some 24 supporters or couriers who are currently residing at Sitio Ibuan of the same barangay also dissociated and denounced their membership and support with the CNTG.

The 27 CNTG Regulars is composed of two Team Leaders and 25 members. Twenty three are from Guerilla Front (GF) 30 while three came from GF 21 and one from GF 16.

Accordingly, they went inactive prior to their surrender after losing trust with the CNTG and realizing the futility and contradiction of the NPA’s propaganda.

These surrenders brought with them assorted medical and dental supplies, cellphones, and other war materials with high informative military value.

The mass surrender likewise led to the declaration of CNTG as persona non grata by Barangay and Tribal Council of  Barangay Mampi, Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur on March 23, 2019.

Santos further mentioned that the continuous exodus of surrender is a manifestation that local peace initiatives are effective and calls to continue and sustain the multi and inter-agency efforts to end the conflict.

“Let us continue with our multi and inter-agency efforts to end the conflict and bring the much-needed services into the conflict-affected communities that will address the issues of conflict effectively and sustainably,”  Santos said.

Currently, the Former Rebels are undergoing necessary procedures to facilitate their inclusion in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).