A TOTAL of 290 members of the Underground Mass Organization (Ugmo), a barangay-based group formed by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to implement their programs on the ground, surrendered to the government forces as the result of the Army's three-day mass surrender campaign.
Captain Andrew Linao, civil-military operations officer (CMO) of 701st Infantry Brigade, said on Friday that based on the report of the 66th Infantry Battalion (IB), which is under their unit, the rebels were from Barangay Araibo, Pantukan, Compostela Valley.
The surrenderers are composed of 200 male and 90 female Ugmo members. They also surrendered 34 firearms including one carbine rifle, four caliber .45mm pistol, one caliber .22 pistol, three caliber 22mm rifle, six magnum 357 pistol, nine gauge, 12 shotgun, six air gun, four improvised guns, and one improvised explosive device (IED).
“The significant number of surrenderers of the Ugmos, dismantled by the CSP (Community Support Program) Teams of 66th IB, is a manifestation that the communities will no longer support the propaganda, ideological, political and organizational works of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Linao said.
The government will also assist the former Ugmo members through different programs like a peace-building seminar to help them cope with the challenges they are set to face after surrendering and equip them with programs and trainings that will enable them to establish conflict resilient communities.
Brigadier General Reuben Basiao, 701st Infantry Brigade commander, said in a separate interview that they are expecting more mass surrendering of rebels in the coming days brought about by their intensified operations and CSPs in rebel-infested barangays.
He added that these former Ugmo members are CPP "structures" and different from the regulars of the (New People's Army) NPA who carry firearms. They are responsible in giving information to NPA and attend rallies.
Even prior to the mass surrender, there are already other members in barangays in Cateel, Boston, Lingig and Mati City who surrendered before the troops.
For the last two quarters of 2017, Basiao said that they recorded zero atrocities in Davao Oriental province as compared to the first two quarters of 2017.
For Davao Oriental alone, almost 2,000 Ugmo members surrendered this year and 116 regular NPA member.
“The Ugmos are victims of the lies and deception of the communist terrorists who continue to organize and extort the masses in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (Gidas). Your army through its community support program will continue to bridge the gap and help the government deliver its basic services and establish an environment that is peaceful and conflict resilient communities,” he said.