IN JUST two months, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has tallied down at least 2,263 regular members and supporters of the communist rebels who yielded to security forces and have expressed support to the government across the country.
Most of the rebels who surrendered are from Davao Region.
Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) Public Information Officer Major Ezra Balagtey said in a statement that most of the ex-rebels surrendered in different military units in Davao.
This is attributed to the continuous effort of the AFP to reach out to the people in the most disadvantage areas.
Of the 2,263, 2,036 or 90 percent of surrenderers were from Davao.
Most notable were the series of mass surrenders in Compostela Valley, where 371 members of Underground Mass Organizations (Ugmo) and supporters surrendered in Maragusan last January 20. Also, 193 Ugmo members and supporters surrendered in Monkayo last February 3, and 166 Ugmo members and supporters in Montevista surrendered on February 19.
"The data show that the overwhelming number of surrenders happened in Davao Region where the bulk of the NPAs force is also situated," he said.
As of March 4, 2018, a total of 607 regular members of the NPA yielded to government authorities while the remaining 1,656 surrenderers are categorized into Militia ng Bayan (MB), Ugmo members, and mass supporters.
"The massive surrenders of NPAs and their supporters were attributed to the combined focused military operations, intelligence efforts, civil-military operation, re-integration efforts and peace and development programs of the AFP, PNP, and local government units," he said.
Meanwhile, the AFP is expecting more surrenders as former rebels and supporters expressed discontent on the management within the movement. Some of them were also exhausted as they had to move from one place to another due to the pressure triggered by the relentless combat operation of the soldiers.
"Statements coming from the former rebels disclosed that they are dissatisfied with the false promises of their leaders and the pattern of deception being done by the NPA terrorists," he said.
Balagtey said the government security force will not back down and will sustain its effort toward winning peace for a peaceful community.
"The AFP assures the public that operations against the communist terrorists will continue, to protect the people and communities from terrorist atrocities," he said.