A HIGH-RANKING leader of the New People's Army (NPA) Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) surrendered to authorities along with his M16 rifle in Barangay Ganatan, Arakan, North Cotabato last October 1.

Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Captain Jerry Lamosao, in a statement, identified the NPA rebel as Alex Gawelan alias "Banate" who belongs to the Guerilla Front 53, SMRC.

Banate surrendered to the troops of 39th Infantry Battalion due to the disintegrating system of the revolutionary movement and broken promises of their leaders.

His surrender was facilitated by their tribal leaders who brought him to the authorities for proper procedure.

"I'm already tired of the false promises made by the NPAs, if there are wounded among our group, we just leave them behind, but the government forces treated their troops properly," Banate said in the vernacular.

"I also realized that we were just manipulated and used to carry supplies and we are tasked to fight the government troops and even our fellow tribesmen," Banate added.

The government has Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which is designed to provide former rebels with financial and livelihood assistance as they start their pursuit of a reformed life.

Meanwhile, 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander Colonel Roberto Ancan acknowledged the role of tribal chieftains in encouraging the rebels to surrender to authorities.

"The cooperation of the tribal leaders and the Indigenous Peoples’ communities plays a significant role in reaching out to the NPAs in the hinterlands of Arakan," Ancan said.

Ancan reiterated their call to the rebels to surrender and return to the mainstream society and live a normal life away from the armed movement.

"We are calling the members of the NPA to return to the folds of the law. We believe that the NPA is just deceiving its members to commit crimes and sow terror to the people of Arakan," Ancan added.