19 NPA rebels surrender amid holiday truce

Published December 31, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

Nineteen communist rebels took advantage of the holiday truce between the Philippine government (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA)-NDF) to surrender to authorities in Eastern Mindanao.

Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr., commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EaetMinCom), attributed the surrender to the effectiveness of local peace initiatives of the different local government units.

“We hope that the academe, the religious sector and other members of the community will channel their initiatives and support these peace endeavors of the different LGUs so that we can all together work for a peaceful environment,” Santos said.

Lieutenant Colonel Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of the EastMinCom, said the surrenderers were members of the NPA and Milisya ng Bayan (MB) who laid down their arms as early as the first day the truce was declared on December 23.

Of the surrenderers, Balagtey said three were rebels who turned themselves in to a local negotiating team composed of local officials, tribal leaders and representative from the business sector in San Fernando, Bukidnon.

The three include a couple who served as team leader and supply officer of a vertical unit in Bukidnon and another NPA team leader.

Balagtey added that six Milisya ng Bayan (MB) members voluntarily surrendered to elements of the 26th Infantry Battalion, San Luis police and Municipal Task Force-ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) San Luis in Sitio Tambo, Brgy. Binicalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur.

In Panabo, Davao del Norte, Balagtey said a communist medic surrendered to local government officials.

In New Bataan, Davao De Oro, Balagtey said a member of an organizing committee in Davao City yielded to the 66th Infantry Battalion and turned over his 9mm pistol.

Three NPA rebels being monitored by the military were surrendered by local officials in Bislig, Surigao Del Sur to the 75th Infantry Battalion.

One of the three rebel surrenderers was a political guide of a guerilla front in the province.

The three surrendered two AK47 rifles and one M16A1 rifle, Balagtay added.

Long for family

In Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur. community leaders turned over a medical staff of the rebel group in Davao del Sur and three fighters to joint elements of the Davao del Sur Police Office and 39th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Mainit, Brgy. Sibulan, Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur.

Balagtey said the group turned over an M14 rifle, an M1 Garrand rifle, an M16 rifle, and medical paraphernalia.

On Christmas day, a ranking member of the NPA in Davao de Oro (formerly Compostela Valley) turned himself in to the Army’s 66th Infantry (Kabalikat) Battalion.

“Ka Bobby” voluntarily surrendered to 66th IB commander Lt. Col. Roman S. Mabborang and yielded one Cobra Ingram Chamvered and a 9mm pistol including two magazines loaded with 24  live ammunitions.

Second Lt. Gablan said the 52-years old rebel returnee was an official of the Provincial White Area Committee (PWAC), Sub-Regional Command (SRC) 3 of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).

“The spirit of Christmas made him long to be with his family. Taking advantage of the Suspension of Offensive Military Operations (SOMO), the former rebel (FR) voluntarily turned himself in to the 66th IB, Gablan said.

“Ka Bobby” revealed the difficult life in the mountains has not brought him anywhere near the promise of the Communist ideology and has only placed his family’s safety at stake.

“He pledged to be the bridge of help to his comrades to convince them to abandon the armed struggle and start a new life,” Mabborang added. (with a report from Mike Crismundo)