BACOLOD CITY – Some 10 Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels and two militia members surrendered to the military in central and south Negros in recent months, the Philippine Army said in reports on Thursday.
Among them are two rebels from the remnants of Central Negros Front 2 who turned themselves in to troops of the 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) after an encounter in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, on Wednesday.
“The successful encounter delivered a substantial blow to the already weakened NPA presence in central Negros. In the wake of this significant victory, I extend an open invitation to all remaining NPA members to surrender,” Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, commanding officer of 94IB, said in a statement.
After a 15-minute firefight, some of the nine NPA rebels fled, leaving behind their comrades, who eventually surrendered to the government troops.
During the clearing operation, the soldiers recovered weapons, including three M16 rifles, an M653 rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, two M14 rifles, a shotgun upper receiver, and assorted live ammunition.
Meanwhile, the 15th Infantry Battalion reported the surrender of eight NPA rebels and two Militia ng Bayan members from Sipalay City and Cauayan and Candoni towns in the past several months at its headquarters in Cauayan as a result of the intensified community support program operations.
The first group included five NPA leaders and members and one militia member, while the other batch comprised three combatants and another militia member.
All the surrenderers belonged to Platoon 3 of South West Front, operating in the mountainous areas of the province’s sixth district.
According to the 15IB report, they decided to surrender due to a lack of food and physical exhaustion since they could no longer conduct extortion activities because of the sustained presence of military forces.
“May this give courage to the remaining NPA members to also lay down their arms, surrender to the authorities, reintegrate into society, and choose a life of peace alongside their families,” 15IB commanding officer Lt. Col. Michael Cuarteros said.
The former rebels are now undergoing interviews, assessments, and documentation procedures for their enrollment in the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (PNA)