10 ‘DISILLUSIONED’ NPA’S SURRENDER IN MAGUINDANAO
The firearms surrendered by ten New People’s Army rebels in North Upi, Maguindanao. (Photo courtesy of MBLT-7 photo)
COTABATO CITY – Ten communist rebels, who said they have grown disillusioned with the terror-listed group, surrendered to the Philippine Marines on Wednesday, a military official said.
Lt. Col. Oliver Baylon, commanding officer of 7th Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT-7), said Thursday the surrenderers belonged to the Cherry Mobile Platoon of the New People’s Army (NPA) Guerilla Front 73 operating in the upland areas Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces.
“All of them were from the Teduray indigenous community who were duped by NPA rebel leaders into joining their ranks and fight the government,” said Baylon.
Baylon, whose unit operates under the area of responsibility of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) in Central Mindanao, said the surrenderers also expressed disillusionment with the rebel movement. The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.
The Marine official added that the military's "relentless pursuit operations in the hinterland areas of Kalamansig and Lebak towns in Sultan Kudarat and North Upi and South Upi municipalities in Maguindanao have also contributed to the rebels' decision to turn themselves in.
Baylon said the surrender was also facilitated by the local officials of Barangay Rifao, North Upi, Maguindanao.
The surrenderers were presented Wednesday to Brig. Gen. Eugenio Hernandez, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, North Upi Mayor Ramon Piang and South Upi Mayor Reynalbert Insular at the headquarters of the MBLT-7 in Sitio Plateau, Barangay Mirab, North Upi, Maguindanao.
The former rebels turned over two AK-47 rifles, one M16 rifle, one hand grenade, and assorted ammunition.
“We are tired of hiding. We also experienced hunger, hardship, and dissatisfaction of the NPA ideology,” Jerome alias ‘Ka Jun-Jun’, one of the surrenderers, told Marine officials.
The local governments of North Upi and South Upi have initially included the surrenderers in the municipal payroll system as casual employees with a monthly pay of PHP5,000 to support their families.
Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the Army’s 6ID commander, welcomed the former rebels to the fold of law.
Sobejana said that if they are eligible, the returnees may avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government for them to start a new life and live peacefully with their families.
On Feb. 22, five former NPA rebels from the Dulangan-Manobo cultural community in Sultan Kudarat province also surrendered to the Marines in the area and had received immediate assistance under the program