AT LEAST 23 members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Caraga and Northern Mindanao have turned themselves in to government authorities, just days before Christmas and the 50th anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the military said.
Three former NPA rebels identified as alias Macmac, 26; alias Momo, 23; and alias Talogkog, 21: surrendered to the 8th Infantry Battalion in Bukidnon last weekend, December 23, bringing along their improvised shotgun, homemade UZI, and AK47 firearms.
They were believed to be members of Platoon S3, Guerilla Front 6, Sub-Regional Command 2, North Central Mindanao Region Command (NMCRC), operating in the hinterlands of Cabanglasan and San Fernando towns and Valencia City.
Another communist rebel in Agusan del Norte surrendered to the 23rd Infantry Battalion before the Christmas eve.
Meanwhile, an entire unit of CPP-NPA's Guerilla Front 3, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) composed of 19 members have laid down their arms and returned to the folds of the law in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, the night before the CPP celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Officials of the 75th and 26th Infantry Battalion facilitated the surrender of 19 NPA fighters around 10:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 25.
The military said the unit's leaders alias "Boss", alias "SK" and alias "Sniper also surrendered to the government troops.
They brought with them nine high-powered and five low-powered firearms and several ammunition.
"The surrender of the entire GF3 in time for the CPP anniversary shows that more NPA members are now heading to the call of the government for peace. We welcome the return of these former NPA members to the folds of the government. It is right time so they can be with their families this yuletide season. Based on the revelation of the GF3 commander, we expect that more NPA members will return to the folds of the law in the coming days," Brigadier General Andres Centino said.
Major General Ronald Villanueva, commander of the army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID), said those who surrender will be enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip) for the benefits.
"We welcome their surrender, it's the best decision they have made for themselves and their families," Villanueva said.
"I'm calling on all terrorist NPA members to return to the folds of the law while you still have your chance, your family is waiting for you. The senseless ideology of the CPP-NPA will not solve your problem, let us work together to end insurgency and live a peaceful and meaningful life before 2019 comes," he added.