TWO New People’s Army (NPA) leaders surrendered Wednesday in Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur.

First Lieutenant China Celina Castro, 10th Infantry Division spokesperson, identified the surrenderers as Randy Atong and Renie Atenza.

She said Atong was the finance and logistics officer of Andoy and Basil Platoons of Guerilla Front (GF) 51, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) while Atenza served as the team leader of first squad Basil Platoon, GF 51, SMRC.

Castro said this was a result of their unit’s intensified focused military operations against the NPA terrorist group in the area.

“The former terrorists said that they were already tired of fighting against the government forces coupled with the experience of starvation caused by the dwindling support from their masses hence they decided to return to the folds of the law,” she said.

Castro said the two were unarmed during their surrender but revealed that they hid three high powered firearms composed of one M14 rifle and one M16 rifle attached with M203 grenade launcher in Barangay Sibulan, Toril District, Davao City.

The army officers have recovered the items.

In December, eight NPA members belonging to GF71, SMRC also surrendered to 73rd Infantry Batallion and brought along with them two high-powered firearms.

“Their decision to return to the mainstream was an aftermath of the setback they suffered during their group’s encounter with the government forces last December 01, 2017 wherein two of their members died and five high-powered firearms were recovered,” said Castro.

For his part, Lieutenant Colonel Marion Angcao, commander of the 73rd infantry battalion, said the surrender of NPA members is an excellent manifestation that their efforts on winning against communist terrorists through focus military operations and Community Support Program activities are effective.

“Because of this, we are expecting more surrenderees in the coming days. Thus, we are reiterating our call on other NPA members to lay down their arms, surrender and avail the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP),” he said.

“The significant increase of former NPA terrorists returning to the folds of the law is also an evidence of our effective collaboration with the Local Government Unit and Local Officials of Province of Davao del Sur,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)