EIGHT New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have surrendered to the government brought about by the relentless pursuit operation against them in the province of Sultan Kudarat, the military reported Saturday.
Major Arnel Dela Vega, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, identified the surrenderers as Romeo Dongco, 29; Jun-Jun Okom, 29; Nasio Dungco, 28; Binta Okom, 50; Batoy Tayak, 49; Goong Tugi, 47; Justin Tugi, 21; and Raffy Blah, 16.
Dela Vega reported that Dongco was among the tribal members who seized a large swath of coffee plantation in September 2017.
Dongco claimed they were told by a certain Datu Victor to cut the coffees so that they can retake their ancestral land.
Dela Vega, in his report to the Western Mindanao Comamnd (Wesmincom), said the surrenderers are members of the now defunct NPAs Platoon Cloudphone.
The surrender of the group was facilitated by Mayor Jonalette De Pedro of Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat and Chief Inspector Garyflor Marfil, her chief of police.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that three of the surrenderors have executed an affidavit linking a local government official to the NPA.
The official facilitated the organization of the Lumads as NPA fighters purposely to reclaim their ancestral lands.
Dela Vega said they expect more NPA rebels to surrender due to the ongoing pursuit operations against them by the government troops.
He said they may avail, if qualified, the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the government in order for them to start a new life and live peacefully with their families.
The Wesmincom reported that a total of 34 NPA rebels have surrendered in its area of responsibility from January 1 to February 2, this year.
Of the total, seven surrendered in Maguindanao while 27 in Sultan Kudarat.
“We anticipate a surge in the number of communist terrorists who will surrender in the coming days as we focus in our all-out offensives against the insurgents in both Central and Western Mindanao,” Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr., Wesmincom chief, said.