The new People’s Army operating in areas covered by the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) continues to lose support and force as more and more rebels surrender to the government.
Lt. Col Ezra Balagtey, the EastMinCom spokesperson, said that since Jan. 1 to June 16 of this year, there were already 300 NPA fighters, 271 Militia ng Bayan (MB) members, and 37 supporters who already surrendered to the different units.
In addition, 867 members of the NPA’s underground movement also dissociated themselves from the communist group.
All the surrenderees brought along with them 265 firearms.
On June 16, 15 NPA rebels; two members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Localidad, and 11 MB members surrendered to the 75th Infantry Battalion under Ltc. Jaime Datuin in Bislig, Surigao Del Sur. Along with them were five members of the Underground Mass Organization (Ugmo).
They brought with them 29 assorted firearms include four CZ858 rifles; one M16A1 rifle; one M14 rifle; two AK47 rifles; four caliber .45 pistols; two caliber .38 revolver pistols; caliber .30 (Improvised), three caliber .22; and 11 improvised shotguns.
They also turned-in assorted materials used for manufacturing Improvised Explosive Device (IED) such as blasting caps and electrical wires.
On the evening of June 16, two MB members and one SPL in Barangay Anitapan, Mabini, Compostela Valley (Davao de Oro) surrendered to the 71st Infantry Battalion, together with nine Ugmo members.
These surrenderees are now undergoing debriefing prior to their enrollment into the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of (E-CLIP).
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of EastMinCom, said soldiers will remain partners of the local government units in making the lives of people better.
“Let us continue to make the NPA irrelevant by supporting the different local government units and national government agencies in their effort to sustain peace gains by pushing and bringing the government in the remaining conflict-affected and vulnerable areas in order to resolve the issues and address the concerns being exploited by the NPA,” he said.