KIDAPAWAN CITY -- A sub-leader of communist rebels operating in North Cotabato and Bukidnon suspected to be involved in the July ambush of President Duterte’s security personnel, decided to surrender to military authorities after he realized he was duped by New Peoples’ Army, the military here said.

Lt. Colonel Harold Argamosa, commander of the Army's 39th Infantry Battalion based in North Cotabato, said Alex L Gawelan also known as "Banate", 38, of Purok 2, Barangy Sagundanon, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, yielded to government through the help of a tribal leader.

The Army is now investigating Gawelan whether he was part of the communist rebels who ambushed the convoy of Presidential Security Group in Davao-Bukidnon highway in July this year.

Argamosa said Gawelan turned over his M-16 Armalite rifle to 39th IB troops in a remote village in Arakan facilitated by IP leaders.

Gawelan is the squad leader of Baking, Sentro De Gravidad, Guerilla Front 53, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee that operates in the hinterlands of North Cotabato and Bukidnon Province.

Argamosa said Gawelan revealed that he was made to believe that the raising of arms against the government is the only solution to uplift their lives and that support to his family will be provided by the underground movement.

Gawelan had been an NPA leader since 2011, but the promises made by NPA leaders remained unfulfilled.

Tired of constantly hiding in the mountains whenever the military operates, Gawelan said decided to escape and met with tribal leaders in Arakan town to help send his message to the Army.

“I pity our comrades who are injured in a clash with the military, we will just leave them behind,” Argamosa quoted Gawelan as telling him.

Capt. Silver Belvis, 39th IB spokesperson, lauded the IP community in Arakan for facilitating the surrender of Gawelan.

Argamosa said Gawelan will avail of government assistance through the Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (PNA)