13 Rebels surrender as NPA Anniversary draws near

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur – The New People’s Army (NPA) will be celebrating its founding anniversary on March 29, 2021, as it draws nearer, thirteen (13) NPA members voluntarily surrendered to the 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion Headquarters last March 15, 2021.

The surrender is the result of the joint efforts of the Peace, Law Enforcement and Development (PLED) Support Team Clusters of the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) in the municipalities of San Luis, Esperanza, La Paz and Talacogon, all of Agusan del Sur.

Twelve (12) of the surrenderers are members of the Guerilla Front (GF) 88 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) mainly operating in the said municipalities and one (1) is a member of the GF8 North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC). Their bad experiences and hardships while in the rank of the NPA terrorist group and the fear of being pursued by the Philippine Army troops fueled them to surrender.

After discrediting the armed group with their deceptive schemes, they also urged their comrades to abandon the armed struggle and they peacefully laid down 13 firearms which composed of two (2) M16A1, two (2) Carbine Rifle, two (2) Homemade shotgun, one (1) KG9, one (1) UZI Cobray, three (3) Cal. 45, one (1) Cal. 38 and one (1) Cal. 35 Revolver together with assorted ammunitions, magazines and other war materials.

“Dako akong pasalamat sa 26IB tungod kay gihatagan ako ug dakong kahigayonan diin ako magbag-o sa akong kaugalingon aron diin mahatagan ug maayong kaugmaon usab ang akong pamilya. Akong pag dasig sa akong mga kaubanan nga anaa sa kabukiran nga naog na kamu ug surrender kay sama namu mahatagan usab kamu ug higayon aron mag puyo nga malinawon uban inyong mga mahal sa kinabuhi.”, AKA Jamil, who served the armed group for 5 years, said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, Commanding Officer of 26IB applauded the latest surrenderers for their courage and eagerness in turning back to the folds of law. He also reminded the citizens, especially in conflict-affected areas, to be more cautious and vigilant because it is believed that the armed group will conduct atrocities and other terrorism related activities for their upcoming anniversary.

“The 26IB will always support peace agreement for those who are willing to go back to the main stream society but if you resist and continue terrorizing our countrymen, we will not hesitate to use our full capability to pin down each and every one of you.”, Lt. Col. Goce said.

The NPA is considered as the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) which was officially designated by the Philippine Government, United States and European Union as a Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).

“The five decades of armed struggle have brought senseless death and miseries to hundreds of thousands of our countrymen. We are offering the rebels a way out, to surrender and start a new. Let us work together to attain peace and preserve our country for the upcoming generations.”, Lt. Col. Goce added.

Currently, the unit of 26IB is conducting Custodial Debriefing to the surrenderees and they will be processed for the enrollment in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) benefits, a government program that aims to help the rebel members of CPP-NPA-NDF and MB to restore their allegiance to the Philippine government.

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