Two female members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist (CNT) group surrendered on Saturday after their comrades abandoned them following a series of encounters with Army troops in Janiuay, Iloilo.
Alias “JL” and “Alexa” yielded to the 12th Infantry Battalion (12IB) of the Philippine Army (PA) in Calinog town. Their surrender was facilitated by a village councilor in Janiuay, said Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of PA’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID).
Both are members of the Baloy Platoon, Central Front, Komiteng-Rehiyon Panay that engaged the 12IB forces in Sitio Naguihot, Barangay Panuran last Aug. 26 and Sitio Tinorian, Barangay Aglobong, both in Janiuay, on August 28.
“These two ladies are involved in the encounter and they have positively identified their belongings that were left in the encounter site. As of now, they are still under custodial debriefing by the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the Army for us to get their story and to process also their surrender,” Pancito said in a phone interview Sunday.
He said the two initially admitted that they got tired of moving from one place to another due to the series of engagements with government troops. They claimed that they were new to the movement, hence Pancito said they are not yet “ripe” as fighters.
JL, 20 years old, said she is a resident of Barangay Garida of Tapaz, Capiz. She claimed that she had been in the movement for just a few days and that her brother, who was wounded in the Janiuay encounter, urged her to join the CNT.
She also said she is a college student taking up Bachelor of Science in Theology in this city.
Alexa, on the other hand, is 19 years old and is taking up Business Administration at the Capiz State University-Tapaz campus. She said she is from Barangay Lahug in said town.
She also alleged that she has been “in and out of the movement” and was recruited to the Baloy Platoon of the CNT just recently.
“All of these are based on the initial information they have provided. We are not taking them as gospel truth,” Pancito said of the claims of the two who did not yield any firearm during their surrender on August 29.
Pancito said the two were abandoned by their group in Barangay Atimonan in Janiuay and whether they would receive assistance from the government would depend on the result of the custodial debriefing and interrogation.
“If they will not be cooperative with the government, then we will be left with no choice but to file a case against them. But if they are willing to cooperate with the government and really will totally cut-off their connections with the NPA, then I think they have the right just like with any other NPA surrenderers to get support from government,” he added.
Meanwhile, in a press statement, Brig. Gen. Marion R. Sison, commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade, lauded the troops for their successful combat operations.
He likewise thanked barangay officials for their support, especially in assisting JL and Alexa in returning to the fold of the law.
“There will be no letup in our hunt for these communist terrorists. Your Army here in Panay and Guimaras will relentlessly pursue these enemies of the state, to prevent them from sowing terror in the communities and to save our youth from getting involved in the senseless bloody armed struggle,” Sison said.
Sison added that the “surrender of JL and Alexa speaks volumes about the Army’s high regard for human dignity as manifested by how we have protected these surrenderers”.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Perla Lena, PNA)