BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – A total of thirty-four members of the New People’s Army Milisya ng Bayan (NPA-MB) and 278 members of underground mass organizations (UGMO) withdrew their support for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA in Agusan del Norte.
These former NPA-MB and UGMO members also pledged to support the government’s peace and development program, after taking their oath of allegiance to the Philippines.
This historic mass surrender and withdrawal of support ceremony were witnessed by top local officials and field unit commanders of the Army’s 23rdInfantry Battalion (23rd IB) held at a mountainous area in Sitio Hinandayan, Barangay Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte where the event was also participated by other line agencies of the government.
“The political structure in this area under the National Democratic Front (NDF) of the CPP-NPA already collapsed due to the mass surrender,” 23rd IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer First Lt. Roel T. Maglalang told The Manila Bulletin on Monday.
“They also pledged their support to the government of the Republic of the Philippines’s peace effort,” claimed the 23rd IB CMO officer.
During the surrender activity last week (November 24), they also handed over to the government two cal. 357 revolver and 10 shotguns.
Among those who yielded to the 23rd IB troopers were members of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities in the area of Hinandayan.
Hinandayan is a known mass base of the NPA where recruitment and training of rebels once prevailed. After the mass surrender, the residents expressed gratitude to the Army, the local government unit (LGU), and the line agencies of the government for freeing them from the claws of the terrorists.
During the ceremony, the former members and supporters denounced the CPP-NPA for hindering the development interventions of the government to their villages.
The Communist presence, they added, caused poverty and hunger among the residents in the area for years. They also expressed guilt for giving support to the Leftist group, and admitted that such action was due to fear and intimidation.
During their pledge of allegiance to the government, the residents also condemned the rebels for their terroristic activities that put into great danger the lives and properties of the residents in the area, Maglalang said.
They also vowed to support the Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) by providing vital information in the continuing drive to end the local communist armed conflicts in their locality, he said.