Five communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels operating in the Zamboanga Peninsula area have surrendered to the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, military officials said.
Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, identified the NPA surrenderers and their unit as ‘Ka Pawpaw”, Guerilla Front-Feliciano A; “Ka Arkins”, Regional Urban Committee; “Ka Eric”, Yunit Militia; and “Ka Jaymon” and “Ka Jongjong”, Main Regional Guerilla Unit (MRGU).
All of them belong to the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC), Nicolas said, adding their surrender Tuesday was facilitated by the 97th Infantry Battalion (IB), 44IB, 42IB, and 53IB.
Nicolas said the former rebels turned over two AK-47 assault rifles, eight magazines, and 245 live ammunitions when they surrendered.
“I’ve heard that the soldiers cared for my wounded comrades and those who returned to the government and surrendered their firearms,” Ka Pawpaw was quoted as saying in a statement released by 102Bde on August 20, 2020.
On Aug. 6, an NPA couple–identified only as Ka Peewee and Ka Ritchie–also surrendered after they were reportedly abandoned by their comrades following a clash with government troops in Leon Postigo town.
Over the weekend, Nicolas led the first “Western Mindanao Former Rebels Summit” that saw the surrender of a platoon-size of communist rebels to Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the Philippine Army chief.
“These series of surrenders demonstrate the renewed trust and confidence of the victims of Communist Terrorist Groups deception tactics to the Army and the government,” Nicolas said.
Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, 1st Infantry Division commander, said “this is the best time” for NPA fighters to lay down their arms and “return peacefully to their communities.”
“The doors of the government will remain open for the other members of the WMRPC who still wish to be with their families and be part again of the peace-loving and productive members of their respective communities,” Ponio said.
Ponio said the surrenderers have been assisted for enrolment with the government’s primary program for returnees, the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). (Teofilo Garcia, Jr., PNA)