SEVENTEEN communist New People's Army (NPA) terrorists have surrendered to government authorities in the province of Bukidnon.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Vercisio San Jose, the commanding officer of First Special Forces Battalion, the 17 surrenderers were members of the Sub-Regional Committee 4 (SRC) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) under its Secretary Dionisio Micabalo alias Muling.
San Jose said their military operations against the NPA and their continuous negotiations have forced the former rebels to surrender and lay down 11 high-powered firearms.
Major General Andres Centino, the commander of 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, for his part, said the surrender of the former rebels further weakens the communist terrorist group in Bukidnon.
"We will continue to press the fight against the CTG (communist terrorist group) in our area of operations first to pressure them to surrender or decimate their forces through armed engagement if necessary," Centino said.
The 17 former rebels received cash assistance and one sack of rice from the Provincial Government of Bukidnon through Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, on the other hand, gave the former rebels cash and food assistance as part of the E-Clip program being implemented by the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.