TACLOBAN CITY – The recent surrender of a New People’s Army (NPA) squad leader that led to the seizure of high-powered firearms in Eastern Samar is proof that the whole-of-nation approach is working to wipe out the insurgency, the Philippine Army said on Monday.
The surrender of alias Roel, political instructor and assistant squad leader of the NPA’s guerilla unit operating in the southern towns of Eastern Samar on June 15, was a result of a series of negotiations by an organization comprising former rebels, said Lt. Col. Oliver Alvior, commanding officer of the Army’s 78th Infantry Battalion (78IB), in a statement sent to reporters.
“The surrender of alias Roel and the discovery of the NPA arms cache is a manifestation of the effectivity of the whole-of-nation approach wherein the collective effort of the local task force on ending local communist armed conflict and the peacebuilder group, have provided a conducive environment for the remaining active NPAs to surrender,” Alvior said.
"Roel" voluntarily surrendered at the 78IB headquarters in Lalawigan village, Borongan City, Eastern Samar, turning over one 5.56mm M16A1 rifle, magazines, and ammunition.
He also revealed the location of the communist terrorist group’s arms caches in the remote villages of Gen. MacArthur, Eastern Samar. The Army was able to locate the cache that stores five M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, and six anti-personnel mines' main charge components.
The series of military operations also disrupted the NPA's capability to recruit new members, forcing the terrorist group to leave excess firearms in their caches through their former supporters in some communities, according to the military.
“The increasing number of NPA surrenderers and the recovery of numerous firearms and explosives signify that the NPA in Eastern Samar are directionless because their top leaders have abandoned their fighters,” Alvior said.
The Army official praised the bravery of the former rebel in deciding to surrender his firearm and to pinpoint the NPA arms caches.
“Starvation and fatigue due to constant movement across the hinterlands of Eastern Samar was the primary consideration for his surrender. We can give assurance that the government will provide necessary interventions for alias Roel and his family as he decided to be law-abiding citizens of the country,” Alvior said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade 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)