The Army’s 6th Infantry Division said eight more New People’s Army guerrillas surrendered in Sultan Kudarat province over the weekend.
The eight belong to an NPA unit that collects “protection money” from farmers in hinterland areas in Bagumbayan town. The 33rd IB has facilitated the surrender of at least a hundred NPAs in Sultan Kudarat in the past 14 months.
According to Capt. Arvin Encinas, public affairs officer of the 6th Infantry Division, the eight NPAs, led by the 29-year-old Romeo Dongco, surrendered through the efforts of the 33rd Infantry Battalion, Bagumbayan Mayor Jonalette De Pedro and Chief Inspector Garyflor Marfil of the municipal police.
Two days after Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Magudadatu released a PhP 20,000 cash grant each to 32 former rebels who had pledged allegiance to the government, Dongco and his companions.
Chief Inspector Aldrin Gonzales, information officer of PRO-12, said that 19 of the 32 former NPAs yielded through the efforts of Senior Superintendent Raul Supiter, director of the Sultan Kudarat provincial police office.
“Many others had availed of support from the provincial government earlier,” Gonzalez said.
PRO-12 is grateful to the Sultan Kudarat provincial government for helping provide former NPAs with financial support they can use for farming and other livelihood projects needed to hasten their recovery and return to mainstream society, according to Gonzalez.
The Communist Party of the Philippines in January played down the series of surrenders, including that of National Democratic Front of the Philippines regional spokesperson Noel Legazpi, as propaganda.
“Foot soldiers regularly conduct forays in far-flung barrios, round up residents, force them to sign blank documents and later present them as ‘NPA surrenderees’,” the party claimed in a statement on January 23.