Two members of New People’s Army surrendered to the 27th Infantry Battalion on Dec. 5 in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
The Municipality of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato passed a resolution declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army persona non grata within the communities.
1Lt. Efren James Halawig, the Civil-Military Operations officer of the 27th, IB identified the rebel returnees as alias Kapitan and Mowen, members of Platoon West of Sub-Regional Committee-Musa, Far South Mindanao Region.
They brought with them two AK-47 rifles. Kapitan said that he could see for himself the development in his own community in the last few years. “There are already projects for the people, such as farm-to-market roads, free education, healthcare assistance, and others,” he told the soldiers.
Lt. Col Jones Otida, the 27th IB commander, said “The resolution passed by the local government unit of Lake Sebu and the declaration of CTG (communist terrorist group) as persona non grata, only show that the people support the implementation of EO 70 signed by our President.”
Executive Order 70 is a whole-of-nation approach where all government agencies are activated to develop hard-to-reach communities, which are the most vulnerable to communist influence. By making them feel the presence of the government, the residents would be dissuaded from supporting the rebel group.
“That is why we thank the people who have complemented our efforts by adding social pressure for the NPA terrorists to finally surrender,” Otida said.
Mean while, the two rebel returnees will undergo debriefing and later enrolled in the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integrated Program.