Asuncion, DDN—Two members of Guerilla Front 34 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, New People’s Army voluntarily surrendered with their firearms in Laak, Compostela Valley Province on Saturday (August 12).
Alias Nicky and alias Pido, both 18 years old and residents of Brgy. Melali, Laak, CVP, voluntarily submitted themselves to the joint elements of the Charlie Company of 60th Infantry Battalion and the Delta Company, 72nd Infantry Battalion with the help of the local tribal chieftains who are also CAFGU Active Auxiliaries in Brgy. Datu Ampunan, Laak. The two surrendered with their issued M16 rifles.
Nicky and Pido are both new recruits, having entered the NPA only last August 1, 2017. The NPA, however, have been utilizing Nicky as a supply errand boy since 2016.
Accordingly, both Nicky and Pido decided to leave their respective groups because of the hardships they have encountered in their two weeks of operating in the hinterlands and evading military troops. Both complained about having to bring the heavy belongings of their leaders and senior members and walking several miles every day even without food.
Nicky recalls that some of the older NPA seemed to despise them because of their status, “We were being mistreated by the other members since we were new.” The two thinks that the others were jealous because they were immediately issued their rifles despite not having “proper training” in handling firearms. “But we were already lacking members; that’s why we were already given our guns,” Nicky said in the vernacular.
The two added that while their leaders seem to relish on their extorted money, the rest of the group are left without food and other necessary supplies.
Both Nicky and Pido are members of the Dibabawon tribe. They also claim to be students of Caraga Heart Mine School Foundation located at Brgy. Capda, Loreto, Agusan del Sur.
The two have already been brought to the hospital for physical and medical examination. The LGU has also committed to provide the necessary assistance to aid them as they return to their normal lives.
The two are now undergoing custodial interview.
Months earlier, at least 50 NPA members from Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley have also voluntarily surrendered to 60IB.
60IB Commander, Lt. Col. Emmanuel Canilla says that military operations will be continuously conducted in areas threatened by the NPA criminals. “Our campaign to end the criminal acts of the NPA shall continue and will only intensify as we reach the point of success. This has been our mandate ever since and it is now even more emphasized in this time of Martial Law. These surrenders are proof that our efforts are gaining momentum and, for as far as our legal orders can cover, we do not intend to stop.”
Canilla also emphasized that this trend of surrenders proves contrary to the claims of NPA partisans which cites soldiers’ torturing and abusing of captured and surrendering rebels. “Our soldiers value the rights of all our people regardless of belief or association. We shall not lose hope in giving these victims of communist deception a chance to return to the folds of the law and back in the arms of their families and love ones.”
“Upon processing their documents, they will be enrolled to the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of our government so they can avail of the various services and assistance they need to aid their return to mainstream society,” Canilla added. | Infantry Battalion – Philippine Army/ via Eunice Samonte – PTV News