A vice commanding officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to soldiers of the 89th Infantry Battalion in Sto Tomas, Davao del Norte last Thursday.
Lt. Col. Silas Trasmontero, the 89th IB commander, identified the surrenderer as Romeo Clarion Abella Jr. alias Jay, the vice commanding officer of the Guerilla Front (GF) 55, Sub Regional Command (SRC) 5 of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) under Kumander Marikit, the front secretary.
Trasmontero said Abella surrendered to the 89th IB troopers at the Quarry Detachment in Sitio Quarry, Barangay Magwawa.
The soldiers were conducting surveillance in Magwawa when the rebel met them.
Abella gave up his M16 rifle with SN l520907, seven long magazines with 138 rounds of live ammunition and a hand-held radio.
The rebel leader alleged he escaped from his group allegedly due to difficulties and psychological pressure from the intensive military operation in the area, and from reported inequalities within their organization.
The rebel claimed he’s already tired of the “social disparity” in the movement as front secretary such as Kumander Marikit enjoys perks and privileges denied to ordinary members.
Ordinary members, he said, are contented with coffee or sometimes hot water. But “Marikit and her husband Rommel enjoy hot chocolates, cigarettes and other foodstuffs,” he said.
Further, the sustained military operation brought additional hardship to them in their already difficult life in the mountains, putting the NPAs on the run and causing demoralization among their ranks.