BUTUAN CITY- Six heavily armed communist-New People’s Army (NPA) members voluntarily surrendered to the Army’s 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur province.
Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, commander of the 26th IB, vowed that this is proof that ‘the government, through the efforts of the NTF-ELCAC, is winning the war against these terrorists and there will be no more anniversaries for them.”
2nd Lt. Cecille C. Tappa, 26th IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer, told the Manila Bulletin on Tuesday that the six NPA rebels surrendered so they could be with their families for the New Year’s Day celebration.
As part of the Barangay Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (BTF- ELCAC), barangay officials of Barangay Balit in San Luis town, Agusan del Sur province, headed by Chairwoman Elisa P. Gaud, accompanied the surrenderees to the 26th IB headquarters on Monday.
The rebels also surrendered one M16 Armalite rifle, one carbine rifle, 2 caliber 38 revolver, two caliber .45 pistol, one KG9, four magazines, assorted live ammunition, and CPP-NPA flag.
Goce welcomed the surrenderees and assured them of livelihood and cash support through the government’s Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
“These surrenderees have already realized the futility of their armed struggle. We welcome them back to the fold of the law,” Goce said.
“The continuous surrender only means that the CPP-NPA is weakening and the AFP will continue its duty in ending the conflict,” he said.
Currently, the unit of 26th IB is conducting custodial debriefing to the surrenderees and they will be processed for enrollment in the E-CLIP benefits, a government program that aims to help the rebel members of CPP-NPA-NDF to restore their allegiance to the Philippine government.
The 26th IB is on high alert with increased patrols, checkpoints, and strengthened security in its area of operations to prevent the NPA’s threat of violence.