DAVAO CITY -- Two ranking New People's Army (NPA) leaders and nine guerilla rebels surrendered to the military in the Compostela Valley town of Monkayo last week, an Army official said Thursday.
The highest ranking NPA surrenderer used to lead the NPA's Guerilla Front 33, as well its personnel and recruitment unit, said Capt. Jerry Lamosao, spokesperson of the Army's 10th Infantry Division based in Compostela Valley province.
Lamosao said the NPA leader, only identified as "Lodi" by the military for security reasons, also surrendered an M1 Caliber 30 Carbine, a defaced M16 and an improvised explosive device (IED).
The other NPA leader, whom the military identified only as Pedro, was the former vice commander of the Downgraded Guerilla Front, he said.
Pedro brought with him a KG9 9-mm. Logger.
Lamosao said the NPA continues to lose some of its leaders to government forces because of the latter’s "relentless civil-military and intelligence operations."
He also lauded the "untiring support and assistance of the local government units (LGUs) within the military’s area of operation."
The nine other rebels, meanwhile, were former team leaders of different guerilla units that the military had engaged in clashes in recent months.
Lamosao said they surrendered four caliber 45 pistols, one KG9 9-mm. Logger, one caliber M1 Garand, live ammunition, paraphernalia and documents that are of high intelligence value.
During a debriefing, he said the former rebels narrated that they joined the communist struggle mainly for economic reasons and perceived neglect by the government.
Lamosao said the rebel returnees were disappointed upon finding out that the NPA was no different from or was even crueler than the government that they used to despise.
He said the surrenderers complained of hunger, fear, and absence of financial support from the organization.
Lt. Col. Oscar Balignasay, commander of the 25th Infantry Battalion assigned to the province, acknowledged the effort of the local officials of four municipalities -- Nabunturan, Montevista, Monkayo in Compostela Valley, and Trento in Agusan del Sur -- in leading the anti-insurgency campaign in their respective areas.
"We encourage those who are still struggling under the CPP-NPA-NDF terror group to not waste time clinging to them and surrender now," Balignasay said, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA – National Democratic Front.
Balignasay said the 25th Infantry Battalion and the LGUs will ensure the surrenderers benefit from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government so that they can start a new life outside of the NPA. (PNA)