CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao: Nine combatants of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the mountains of Sultan Kudarat province have surrendered to the military and vowed never to be duped again by the communist terrorist group.
Col. Eduardo Gubat, commander of the Philippine Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade, said Tuesday the rebels were convinced to return to the fold of the law following weeks of negotiations.
Combined Community Support Program (CSP) teams of 37th Infantry Battalion and 57th Infantry Battalion have successfully convinced the rebels of the benefits of yielding to the government.
The rebels surrendered on Monday afternoon in Sitio Tinapakan, Barangay Datu Ito Andong, and Sitio Nursery, Barangay Sta. Clara, both of Kalamansig town.
Gubat said the former rebels were under the NPA West Daguma Front, Far South Mindanao Region operating in the mountains of Sultan Kudarat, and parts of Maguindanao and Sarangani provinces.
“These personalities revealed that they are members of ‘Militia ng Bayan’ and were brainwashed by a certain Edgar Kandi in joining the communist terrorist group,” Gubat said. “They surrendered to clear their names from any involvement in the unlawful activities of the CTG and to start living again a peaceful life with their families.”
The surrenderers turned over 10 shotguns and one homemade .38 caliber revolver.
“We have learned our lesson and we will never join the NPA again,” Ka Omeng, one of the surrenderers, told reporters in the vernacular during a phone interview.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the surrenderers would be enrolled under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. Under this program, former rebels who reintegrate themselves into mainstream society are given support and livelihood packages.
The NPA, together with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.