DUMAGUETE CITY – Two brothers who claimed to be regular members of a local guerrilla unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) on Wednesday surrendered to military and police authorities in Barangay Nagbinlod, Sta. Catalina town in Negros Oriental.
They were identified only as Ka Daniel and Ka Aguilos, who joined the rebel organization in 2015 and in 2021, respectively, according to 1Lt. Pearl Lanuza, Civil-Military Operations Officer of the 11th Infantry Battalion (11IB) of the Philippine Army based in Siaton, Negros Oriental.
Lanuza said the brothers submitted themselves to the Bravo Company of the 11IB, through the joint intelligence components of the battalion the 705th Maneuver Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 7 of the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Sta. Catalina local police.
In a telephone interview, 1Lt. Al-Rahji Junelle B. Sahipa, company commander of the Bravo Company, 11IB, said the siblings voluntarily surrendered to them at their detachment in Barangay Nagbinlod.
“Both of them are members of the local guerrilla unit of the South East Front (SEF) of the CPP-NPA and their surrender is part of our sustainment operations against the underground movement and perhaps they also feared for their lives due to our relentless military operations,” Sahipa said in mixed English and Filipino.
The two did not have any firearms with them although Sahipa said that they were “red fighters” while in the movement and they have warrants of arrest for various crimes such as murder.
Their identities were confirmed by a couple who were also former NPA members and surrendered last week in Sta. Catalina.
Sahipa thanked the local government unit of Sta. Catalina, headed by Mayor Peve Ligan, for the continued support provided to the law enforcement authorities and to former rebels.
The brothers said they decided to surrender after experiencing hardships like extreme hunger, exhaustion, and the dwindling support of the mass base, and after having realized that “it was all propaganda that they heard of the NPA contrary to what they were made to believe”.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Roderick Salayo, 11IB commander, told the Philippine News Agency in a separate phone interview, that the father of the brothers is also an active member of the NPA operating in the same area in southern Negros Oriental.
“The father is a hard-core member of the NPA and the brothers were recruited to the movement through him,” Salayo said. “The brothers have realized the importance of their families and having a decent income, and in fact, one of them has plans of getting married to her girlfriend.”
Salayo called on the remnants of the SEF, which the military said is already a dismantled guerilla front, to lay down their arms and surrender so they and their families can have a better and peaceful life outside of the underground movement, adding that they will not stop until the insurgency is totally crushed.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, was quoted by a media release from the 11IB as saying “the successive surrenders are solid proof that our collective efforts in the implementation of the Task Force-ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) with the local government units, law enforcement counterparts and government line agencies are very effective and efficient.”
Lanuza said the latest NPA surrenderers will be turned over to the police for profiling and processing so they can be enrolled in the government’s Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.
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.
The National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)