GENERAL SANTOS CITY: Disheartened with their “miserable” condition in the mountains, two more members of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the hinterlands of Sarangani have surrendered on Thursday to government troops in the area.
Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano, commanding officer of Army’s 38th Infantry Battalion (IB), said Friday the rebels yielded along with a firearm in Barangay Nomoh, Maasim town following a series of negotiations facilitated by local government and community leaders.
He said the two formally signified to surrender last March 15 and were immediately processed by their community support team in coordination with the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict of Maasim.
The returnees, who were under an NPA unit based in the mountainous areas of Maasim and its border with South Cotabato province, turned over a shotgun with three live ammunition, he said.
The area is operated by the NPA’s Guerilla Front 73 under its Far South Mindanao Revolutionary Committee.
Atilano said the two decided to abandon the armed struggle of the communist terrorist group and return to the folds of the law so they can lead normal lives with their families.
“They are also exhausted and demoralized by the continuing intensified military offensives against their units,” he said in a report.
The returnees were also discouraged by the uncertainty of their cause and the abuses committed by their leaders and other members, among them the extortion activities victimizing poor civilians.
Col. Eduardo Gubat, commanding officer of the Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade, said the latest accomplishment is the result of the concerted efforts of their troops and the Maasim municipal government to convince more rebels to surrender.
He said these are complemented by the enhanced delivery of basic services to the people, especially those in the far-flung areas, by various government agencies.
These are in line with the government’s “whole-of-nation” approach to ending local communist insurgency under Executive Order No. 70.
Gubat added that they will endorse the surrenderers for inclusion into the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program so they can avail of livelihood and support assistance from the local and national government.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.