CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The presence of communist guerillas in the hinterlands of Misamis Oriental province is dwindling, an Army commander confirmed Thursday.
Lt. Col. Ricky Canatoy, Commanding Officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB), said in a statement that aside from shrinking numbers, the New People’s Army (NPA) is "under pressure from the government to surrender due to the loss of their forces and mass bases".
On June 14, 2021, two NPA rebels surrendered to the joint forces of the 58IB and the 1001st Maneuver Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion in Dampil village, Lagonglong town following an encounter in Salay.
The surrenderers were identified as alias “Jukol” and alias “Esay”, reportedly a vice commander and medic, respectively, of the Platoon Cherry Mobile, Sub-Regional Committee 1 of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC).
"Their surrender demonstrates that they are fed up with the NPA's erroneous ideology. This also implies that their trust and support have now shifted from the NPA to the government," Canatoy said.
Authorities conducted a pursuit operation in Salay after a concerned civilian disclosed that NPA rebels dispersed into small groups and are regrouping with other recruits.
The surrenderers divulged the locations of firearms cache in two sites in Saray village, Salay town.
The troops seized two M16 rifles, an AK47, and two .30-caliber carbine rifles.
The Army said a previous encounter on June 7 in the hinterlands of Mambuli village of Salay town resulted in the death of alias “Dariel”, also a member of NCMRC.
Canatoy assured "non-stop efforts" to convince individuals who have been influenced by the NPA to surrender to the government.
"Rest assured that the Army will not stop until the last member of the armed group surrenders and receives benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program," he said. (PNA)