TWO high-ranking leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) of Guerilla Front 51, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) surrendered Wednesday morning.

In a statement, 10th Infantry Division (ID) said the NPA leaders' surrender to the 73rd Infantry (Neutralizer) Battalion was a great way to welcome the year.

The surrenderers were identified as Randy N. Atong alias Andikon, Finance and Logistics Officer of Andoy and Basil Platoons, and Renie C. Atenza alias Ryan, Team Leader of First Squad, Basil Platoon and of GF51 SMRC.

“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 the masses hence they decided to return to the folds of the law,” the statement said.

It added that the two former rebels surrendered unarmed but during the course of initial debriefing, they revealed that they hid their three high powered firearms composed of one M14 Rifle and one M16 Rifle attached with M203 Grenade Launcher somewhere in Barangay Sibulan, Toril District, Davao City.

The Alpha Company of the 73rd IB immediately organized a team to retrieve the firearms and positively recovered these at around 8:40 a.m. of the same day.

The 73rd IB noted that in December 2017, eight NPA members belonging to GF71, FSMR likewise surrendered bringing 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 1, 2017 wherein two of their members died and five high-powered firearms were recovered,” the statement read.

Lieutenant Colonel Marion Angcao, Commander of the 73 Infantry Battalion said that this development showed that more and more NPA rebels are gaining trust and confidence to the government that urged them to surrender, as he urged other members to surface and avail the government program.

“This is an excellent manifestation that our efforts on winning against communist terrorists through focus military operations and Community Support Program (CSP) activities are effective. Because of this, we are expecting more surrenderers 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),” Angcao said.

The increasing number of NPA surrenderers is also attributed to their effective Community Support Program (CSP) and support of the LGU and the public.

“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.