CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Five members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered at Sitio Natampod, Barangay Namnam, San Fernando town in Bukidnon, the Philippine Army confirmed on Sunday, June 26.
Lt. Col. Christian James Vingno, commanding officer of PA’s 88th Infantry Battalion (88IB), said in a statement the surrendered rebels were positively identified by their former comrades who had earlier surrendered to the government.
The said rebels surrendered to the 88IB and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Region 10 on June 23 and turned over five high powered firearms composed of one M16A1 Rifle and four Cal. 30mm M1 Garand Rifles.
The 88IB said the NPAs decided to abandon the armed struggle because of fear of death, hunger and their desire to be with their families and loved ones.
Vingno confirmed the five NPA rebels were the remnants of the recently dismantled Guerilla Front Malayag, Sub Regional Command (SRC) 2 of North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) in the mountainous areas of Pantaron Mountain Ranges, covering Malaybalay City and the towns of San Fernando and Cabanglasan in Bukidnon.
It can be recalled that on September 8, 2021, the said group was engaged by elements of 88IB at the forested area of Barangay Mabuhay, San Fernando Bukidnon, in a gunfight which resulted in the death of four of its cadres and capture of 10 other fighters including a child-soldier and the seizure of 16 high powered firearms.
On September 10, 2021, another encounter between the 88IB troops and the said group happened which also resulted to the seizures of six high powered firearms and capture of four rebels including two minors at the forested area of Purok 10, Sitio Narulang, Barangay Laligan, Valencia City, Bukidnon.
The commanding officer assured the returning rebels of benefits from the government and urged other rebels to surrender to the government.
“Surely, the government will provide you with all the benefits you are entitled to receive,” said Vingno.
“To the remaining members of NPA, I encourage you to surrender and return to the folds of the law. Now is the right time to come down and help the government bring peace and order to the countryside,” added Vingno.
The rebels underwent debriefing and documentation that would allow authorities to facilitate the granting of their benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.