MASS SURRENDER. Twenty-four members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army surrender to the 94th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Ayungon, Negros Oriental on Friday (Nov. 11, 2022). The former rebels also turned over firearms and explosives. (Courtesy of 303IB-Philippine Army)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Twenty-four members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) surrendered to the 94th Infantry Battalion (94IB) of the Philippine Army based in Ayungon, Negros Oriental and turned over firearms and explosives.

Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, 94IB commanding officer, said on Monday that among the surrenderers were two ranking medical officers of the NPA’s Central Negros 2 of the Komiteng Rehiyon Negros.

“The mass surrender on November 11 was done at the 94IB headquarters, although the majority of the former rebels are from Negros Occidental,” Almonte told the Philippine News Agency in mixed English and Filipino.

Twenty-one are from Himamaylan, two are from Kabankalan in Negros Occidental, and another one is from Manjuyod, Negros Oriental.

They turned over seven short firearms, three rifle grenades, and a hand grenade.

Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the mass surrender is “another blow to Central Negros 2 and will further degrade their capability due to the reduction of their manpower.”

“Further, it will have an impact on their mobility corridor as some of the surrenderees are their key contacts in the area,” he said.

Pasaporte called again on the remaining CPP-NPA members to abandon the armed struggle and return to the fold of the law.

He added that the local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict will help them avail of government programs.

Almonte said they are now processing the enrolment of the former rebels to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program and other relevent programs. (PNA)