GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Five members of the New People's Army (NPA) operating in the hinterlands of Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces surrendered to government forces in the area on Wednesday night.
Brig. Gen. Eliseo Tam Rasco, director of the Police Regional Office 12 (Soccsksargen), said Thursday the rebels voluntarily yielded, along with their firearms, in Barangay Nalus, Kiamba town in Sarangani at around 7 p.m.
Rasco said the surrender was facilitated by personnel of the 1204th police mobile force company, led by Major Paulino Asirit and under the direct supervision of Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) 12 chief, Lt. Col. Barney Condes.
They were backed by elements of the Sarangani police's intelligence branch, Regional Intelligence Division, Regional Intelligence Unit, 42nd Company of the 4th Special Action Force Battalion, Maitum and Kiamba municipal police stations, and the Army's 27th Infantry Battalion.
A report released by PRO-12 identified the returnees as Larry Landong alias "Weather", 20; Bilana Landong alias "Bob", 50; Busog Bilangan alias "Busaw", 23; Moly Landog alias "Noel", 19; and Loni Landong, 40.
The five, who were listed as residents of Sitios Tungkay and Lomuyon of Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, were previously under Platoon Samsung of the NPA's Front 73.
The unit operates in the upper valley towns of Lake Sebu and Tboli in South Cotabato and Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum in Sarangani.
They surrendered an AK47 rifle with serial number BO 76966 and loaded with a magazine carrying three live bullets; an M16 Armalite rifle with defaced serial number loaded with 10 live bullets; a homemade M79 grenade launcher with three live ammunition; a caliber .45 pistol with serial number 254720 and a magazine with five bullets; a caliber .22 homemade rifle with six live bullets; a fragmentation grenade; and various subversive documents.
Rasco said the returnees were immediately brought to the PRO-12 headquarters in Barangay Tambler here for custodial debriefing and documentation.
He said they will be assessed for inclusion in the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.
Rasco said under the program, the former rebels will receive financial and livelihood assistance, remuneration for the surrendered firearms and other benefits from various government agencies.
On Tuesday morning, 15 NPA rebels under Front 73's Platoon Cherry Mobile that operates in parts of Sultan Kudarat province also surrendered voluntarily in Lebak town.
The surrender was facilitated by the RMFB-12, Sultan Kudarat police and the 1st Marine Brigade.
The 20 surrenderers were formally presented by PRO-12 to Philippine National Police Chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, who visited the regional headquarters on Thursday.
The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines have declared the Communist Party of the Philippines - NPA as a terrorist organization. (PNA)