FOUR New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas, including two leaders of Militia ng Bayan, surrendered to authorities along with their high-powered firearms, citing that they are tired of living in the hinterland and running away from the intensified military operations.
Second Lieutenant Amadeuz Celestial, Civil-Military Operations Officer of the 60th Infantry Battalion said in a statement issued on Wednesday, November 22, that the four surrendered separately from November 8 to November 19. He attributed the surrenders to the on-going implementation of the Community Support Program (CSP) in Davao del Norte and Laak, Compostela Valley Province.
Alias Gimo from Kapalong town surrendered last November 8 to the CSP Team who was deployed in the area together with two anti-personnel landmines. The military also retrieved an M16 assault rifle from his former station in a follow up operation. According to the report, Gimo was the leader of a militiang bayan unit under Maximo Catarata aka Makatindog who is the commander of Guerilla Front 34.
Likewise an Alias Allan, a resident of Laak surrendered to the joint elements of 60IB’s Charlie Company and the 72IB’s Delta Company (CAFGU Active Auxiliaries). During his surrender, he brought with him a AK-47 rifle together with several magazines and ammunitions. Allan has been in the communist force for a week.
The recent surrenderees were identified as Alias Jeko from New Corella and surrendered to 60IB with his M16 rifle attached with a M203 grenade launcher. He also turned in his NPA-issued handheld communication radio. Jeko was a leader of another militia unit under Danny Pastor aka Caloy of Guerilla Front 33. He said he was involved in several armed encounters including the recent clash with 60IB troops last September in Barangay Longganapan, Laak.
On the same day, an Alias Karel from Laak town also surrendered to the army unit with the help of Alias Allan, who was his cousin. He said in an interview that he attended the orientation of the NPA in 2015 when he was only 16 years old. He brought with him a garand rifle.
“[This is] attributed to the continuous implementation of 60IB’s CSP, coupled with its intensified security, intelligence, and civil-military operations, the surrenders of Gimo, Allan, Jeko, and Karel were preceded by the voluntary submission of over 60 other former NPA members for 2017 alone. At least 20 of them yielded with their firearms, usually coupled with landmines and other war materials,” Celestial said.
The four decided to surrender because they were exhausted in the upland and admitted that they find it hard to evade the troops who are conducting intensified offensive operations in their area amid the all-out war.
The four further revealed that while they were still in the movement, their respective groups were planning to conduct further atrocities against the security forces and civilians.
Authorities are now processing their enrollment to the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (Clip) where they will receive immediate cash and livelihood assistance and additional cash remuneration for their surrendered firearms.
Colonel Erwin Bernard Neri, 1001st Infantry Brigade Commander acknowledged the “extra effort” of the troops under 60th IB in reaching out to the communities through continuous implementation of CSP that led to more surrenderees from the communist group.
“I think they are finally realizing that fighting a fully capable and functioning government is futile. We are making consistent progress in the communities and we see no reason for them to remain struggling in the mountains,” Neri said.