THE Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recorded 877 self-confessed New People’s Army (NPA) members and supporters who have pledged allegiance to the flag since December 21, 2017.

Eastmincom Public Information Officer Major Ezra Balagtey said these surrenderers are former members of the NPA operating in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte provinces.

Balagtey said there were at least 39 regular NPA members, 179 Milisya Ng Bayan, 73 Sangay Ng Partido and 586 Mass Supporters of the NPA surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade since December 21.

He added that during the same period, 15 firearms and nine Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were also recovered by the government forces from the two provinces.

"Until now, members of the communist continue to yield to government and return to the folds of the law," Balagtey said, adding that among the surrenderers are 16 persons holding vital positions in the communist.

A certain Ka Anthony is a commanding officer of the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda, Guerilla Front 2; Ka Charry, the vice-commanding officer of the Pulang Bagani Company 8; and Ka Dindo, a political instructor of Guerilla Front 33.

In an assessment made by the 1001st Brigade, which has operational jurisdiction in some parts of the two provinces, the massive influx of surrenderers is the result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Davao City last December 21.

Duterte earlier had dialogue with 700 former rebels and offered them various assistances to start a new and peaceful life and encouraged other terrorists who are still active in the terrorist movement to surrender.

Army’s 1001st Brigade Commander Colonel Erwin Bernard Neri, in a statement, said many of those who surrendered felt the difficulty of continuously running away from the pursuing troops.

In a related development, a Sparu member of the NPA only named as Jano and a sub-section collector named alias Lenny was also apprehended in Maco town in Compostela Valley while extorting money from the residents.

Neri said this development is an offshoot of the continued support of the community exhibiting their disgust and hatred to the communist movement.