DAVAO CITY – A total of 18 members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) from North Cotabato and Davao del Norte surrendered to the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (10ID) from May 20 to June 1.
A report from the 10ID said soldiers of the 39th Infantry Battalion arrested seven Pulang Bagani Command’s Guerrilla Front (GF) 55 guerrillas, including their leader identified as alias Maruz, during an encounter in Barangay New Israel in Makilala on May 20.
On May 21, two members of GF 51 were arrested.
They all yielded a total of 10 high-powered firearms.
Meanwhile, eight members of GF 55 and Sub-Regional Guerrilla Unit (SRGU) voluntarily surrendered without firearms to the 56th Infantry Battalion (56IB) on May 29 as a result of localized peace engagement initiatives of the provincial government and their relatives in Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
An NPA militia identified only as alias Dan-dan also surrendered on June 1 to the 56IB bringing with him one M16A1 Elisco rifle and one plastic magazine assembly with seven cartridges of caliber 5.56mm ball.
The 10ID attributed the achievement to the localized peace engagement initiatives of the Army and local chief executives with the active participation of communities.
Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., commander of 10ID, said the series of surrenders is a manifestation of trust towards the government and the troops.
"The surrender of the 18 rebels is an indicator of the success of peace initiatives by local chief executives and the Army under the helm of Executive Order No. 70," he said.
Torres urged the remaining rebels to unite with the government in rebuilding the nation from the 53 years of suffering under the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) - NPA - National Democratic Front (NDF).
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging more than five decades of armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)