BUTUAN CITY – Two ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leaders operating in the areas of Agusan del Sur and parts of Agusan del Norte surrendered on May 3 to the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB), a military official said Wednesday.
In a statement, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, 23IB commander, identified the NPA officer only as alias 'Hajie' or 'Saed,' 36, the front secretary of Guerrilla Front 88 of the North Central Mindanao Command (NCMRC) of the NPA.
The other surrenderer, Paulo said, is alias 'May-may or Wena,' 31, political officer and political instructor of the same NPA unit.
Paulo said the two surrendered at the headquarters of 23IB in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte on May 3, and handed over a 1911 .45-caliber pistol with one magazine and five ammunition.
Hajie could no longer endure the hunger and difficulties they experienced inside the movement, he said.
“We do not have enough supply of food as most of our supporters in communities in Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur has already cut ties with the movement. Securing food supply is among the difficulties that GF 88 is facing. Most of the members and fighters in GF 88 are demoralized due to the difficult situation,” Hajie was quoted in the dialect as saying.
He said he also wished to reunite with his family, especially his children.
Paulo welcomed the two surrenderers as he recognized their "bravery in deciding to leave the rebel movement".
“The testimony of alias Hajie indicates the disintegration of the NPA movement in Agusan del Norte due to the difficulties they now face as the consequences of the mass surrenders of their supporters in communities,” Paulo said.
He also hopes that the remaining members of GF88 and GF4A in the province would follow suit.
“Listen and accept programs and services of the government being offered to you. This is for your benefit and the future of your families. Surrender now and start to live peacefully in your communities,” Paulo said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)