CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – An entire New People’s Army (NPA) squad, composed of 12 fighters, surrendered and turned in their weapons to the military in Sitio Langusahan, Barangay Minalwang in Claveria, Misamis Oriental.
Based on the initial report of 58th Infantry Battalion (58th IB) Commander Lt. Col. Ricky Canatoy, the surrenderers were members a squad that belonged to the Third Platoon, HQF Neo of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) under a certain “Barman”.
According to Fourth Infantry Division (4th ID) Public Affairs Office (PAO) Chief Maj. Rodolfo S. Cordero, Jr., the NPA squad surrendered on Sunday, November 9, through the intervention of barangay officials in Minalwang, Claveria town.
The 58th IB and soldiers of the Second Scout Ranger Battalion (2nd SRB) were also able to retrieve the firearms and other war materials, the whereabouts of which were disclosed by the surrenderers.
Found in the arms caches disclosed in three different locations in the hinterlands of Barangay Minalwang were two AK47 rifles, a Garand rifle, an M14 rifle, a Carbine rifle, two M16 Armalite rifles, and an M653 rifle.
The government troops also seized 770 different kinds of ammunition, and hundreds of magazines and other war materials.
According to the squad leader, whose identity was withheld for his safety, they surrendered due to fatigue and hunger as they were always on the run day and night to evade the government forces that were after them.
Meanwhile, Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th ID chief and Joint Task Force Commander Maj. Gen. Andres C. Centino, confirmed the relentless security operations of the military against the Communist group in the two regions in Mindanao.
He said the surrender of the entire squad of CPP-NPA terrorists was an indication that the Focused Military Operations (FMOs) being implemented by JTF-Diamond in Northern Mindanao has caused the demoralization of the armed group.
“Our continuous FMO will drain the resources of the CPP-NPA terrorists because they will not be able to extort money from business firms and farmers,” the 4th ID chief also told The Manila Bulletin on Tuesday.
“We will continue to press the fight against these bandits, and as we always emphasized in the past, without resources the CNTs will either surrender or abandon the armed struggle, and this incident proves it and we expect more surrenders in the coming days,” Centino added.
The surrenderers will be enrolled in the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) which provides livelihood and housing assistance, skills training, and firearms remuneration for surrendered firearms among others, Cordero said.