BUTUAN CITY – After several years in the communist movement, a New People’s Army commander voluntarily surrendered to the Army’s 16th Infantry (Maglilingkod) Battalion somewhere in Kiabo area, Malitbog, Bukidnon province, the military reported Sunday night.
Civil Military Operations (CMO) Officer of 16th IB 2Lt. Valerie Mae C. Jequinto told The Manila Bulletin Sunday night that the successive focused military and intensified intelligence operations launched a week ago led to the surrender of this NPA commander.
“This NPA leader also wanted to lead a peaceful life with his family and to be productive in his own community,” the 16th IB CMO officer said.
The NPA commander, identified only as certain ‘Ka Jayto’ (name withheld for his security), 26 years old, was a leader of the SRSDG Eagles Sub-Regional Committee 1 (SRC1) of the CPP-NPA Northern Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), Lt. Jequinto said.
“He is considered a High Value Individual (HVI) due to his position in the NPA hierarchy,” claimed Lt. Jequinto.
Actually, the wife of this now ex-rebel, was also part of the communist movement, serving as a medic of the same committee.
The wife left the communist group ahead of him and returned to the fold of law on May 12.
“Prenatal demands coupled with sleepless nights, fatigue, and extreme hunger ushered the surrender of his wife. Already a mother, she resolved on fostering a nurturing environment to raise her child away from the violence which is the only thing the NPA offers,” said Lt. Jequinto.
Since the wife, identified only as a certain ‘Rench,’ remained in contact with her husband though she left the group, the 16th IB under the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade used such contact to facilitate the negotiations and convince her husband to surrender, the 16th IB CMO officer said.
Similar to Rench’s reasons for leaving the armed struggle, the former NPA commander also said that his longing to be reunited with his spouse and child fueled his courage to leave his group in the mountains.
“After being amongst the government’s enemies for ten years, the realizations of the deceptions and propaganda of the communist CPP-NPA-NPF and his immense desire for a normal family life pushed him to find his way back to the mainstream,” said the 16th CMO officer, after talking to the NPA commander.
Now reunited, the husband and wife are currently under the custody of the 16th IB that’s taking care of the usual process for returning rebels.
The unit is providing initial assistance such as livelihood aid and skills training, and their enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to start a new life is being processed.
In a statement released Monday, the 16th IB is once again calling all remaining members of CPP-NPA to lay down their arms and realize the futility of their armed struggle.
With the number of regular red fighters who are now abandoning the NPA movement nationwide, it is only a matter of time before the CPP-NPA collapses and sustainable peace and development is finally achieved. Under the banner of NTF-ELCAC, the unit will continuously intensify efforts to support the government’s thrust to end decades of insurgency, the 16th IB statement added.