By Mike Crismundo
REMEDIOS TRINIDAD ROMUALDEZ, Agusan del Norte – Three armed New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and four couriers of the Communist movement voluntarily surrendered to the Community Support Teams (CSTs) of the Army’s 29th Infantry (Matatag) Battalion (29th IB) in Barangay San Antonio, Remedios Trinidad Romualdez (RTR), Agusan del Norte province.
First Lt. Miguel O. Borromeo, Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 29th IB, told the local newsmen on Wednesday that the three former NPAs brought along with them their M-16 rifles, live ammunition and medical supplies when they gave themselves up to the command group of the 29th IB led by its commander Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste.
“The surrenderers belong to one clan,” said the CMO officer of the 29th IB.
The surrenderers, whose identities were temporarily withheld for their safety, were former members of SYP 21-C of the Weakened Guerilla Front 21 (GFC 21) of the CPP-NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command (NEMRC), 1st Lt. Borromeo said.
“Extreme fatigue, hunger and hardships in the mountains made them decide to surrender,” the 29th IB CMO officer said, adding “besides they wanted to live now a normal and peaceful life with their respective families and be productive in their communities”.
The relentless efforts of the CSTs deployed in the area of operations of the 29th IB also forced them to surrender.
Lt. Col. Criste said that he was glad that these NPA rebels were enlightened and decided to surrender and return to the folds of law where they can be given the opportunity to avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government.
“With this, they can start a new life and can look forward to a better future with their families,” he said.
“To those who are having second thoughts about surrendering, come down now. Trust your Army and the government for we are here to truly help you to have a better life compared to the life which you have right now,” Criste added.