BUTUAN CITY – Five communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have surrendered while various firearms were recovered amid intensified operations by government forces in the regions of Caraga and Northern Mindanao over the weekend, the military reported Monday.
"We express our commitment to further foster peacebuilding and developmental efforts in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions,” Maj. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID)4ID commander, said in a statement, noting that the twin operations took place Saturday.
In Northern Mindanao, Cuerpo said an operation conducted by the Army’s 1st Special Forces Battalion at Barangay Mampayag in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon province, resulted in the surrender of five NPA rebels, including the vice commander of NPA headquarters Neo under the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee.
The surrenderers also handed over to the Army two AK-47 rifles, two M16 rifles, and an M14 rifle.
In the Caraga region, a 20-minute skirmish erupted in Barangay Sta. Cruz in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur during a patrol operation conducted by the Army’s 65th Infantry Battalion, leading to the seizure of an AK-47 rifle, an M16 rifle, backpacks, and assorted ammunition.
The rebels withdrew and fled in various directions during the clash.
Cuerpo urged remaining NPA insurgents in the two regions to surrender peacefully and return to their homes and families. (PNA)