SECURITY officials said it is "game over" for the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People's Army (CPP-NPA) as its leaders are already surrendering to government forces.

Colonel Consolito Yecla, commander of the 1003rd Infantry “Raptor” Brigade, said in a press conference Monday, January 17, that Sub-Regional Committee 5 (SRC5) of SMRC has been "successfully" dismantled as its entire leadership surrendered to government troops on January 10, 13 and 16, 2022, respectively, in Sitio Minalong, Barangay Kahusayan, Kitaotao, Bukidnon and Sitio Sambulungan, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

A total of 14 CPP-NPA members surrendered and brought along nine high-powered firearms and two low-powered firearms.

Yecla said the SRC5 was the main source of NPA recruits in SMRC.

The group, he said, is also the ones who established the Haran Bakwits from 2014 to 2021.

It also created the Salugpungan Ta'Tatanu Igkanugon Learning Center Inc.-Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (Misfi), which is said to be institutions teaching students how to use firearms, apart from them being indoctrinated with anti-government propaganda.

Yecla said SRC5's "road to downfall" was already felt when Ariane Jane Ochate Ramos alias Marikit, secretary of Guerrilla Front 55 of SRC5, surrendered to the military in Pikit, North Cotabato in August last year.

Ramos, who was pregnant during the time of her surrender, said in a separate interview that she chose to surrender to become a mother to her child.

She said the dismantling of SRC5 has a huge effect on the operation of the communist group.

"Ang dismantling ng SRC5 ng SMRC ay napakalaki, kasi ang SRC5 ay baston ng NPA recruitment sa SMRC. Dahil wala na ang name-passing guerrila, mahirap nang umusad pa para sa pagsulong ng People's Democratic Revolution," Ramos said, adding that there would be a possibility that the SMRC would collapse anytime.

According to another surrenderer Ida Marie Montero alias “Mandy,” during the initial interview, “Game over na kami, sir. (It’s game over for us, sir.)”

“We already heard the fate of SRC5. It is game over. But before we hit the final buzzer, we have another game to play, which is to sustain peace and development in our AOR [area of responsibilty]," Yecla said.

Meanwhile, Major General Ernesto Torres Jr., commander of the 10th Infantry Division, said the dismantling of SRC5 is way ahead of the timeline set by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“This is the reality on the ground as opposed to the lies being peddled by the CPP Information Bureau that they still have strong cadres and mass bases. Our joint Intelligence, Focus Military Operations (FMO) and purposive CMO operations led to the destruction of SRC5 and SRGU of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC),” Torres said.

He also called on other members of the communist group to surrender as early as now.