Four members of the New People’s Army (NPA) from Front 71 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) voluntarily surrendered on Saturday to the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB) in Barangay Little Baguio, here.
The former rebels were identified as alias Richard, 20 years old; alias Joker, 23 years old; alias Ben, 28 years old; and alias Pikot, 21 years old. The group also turned-over one hand grenade to the Army troops.
The rebels belonging to the B’laan tribe decided to surrender because of the hardship and starvation following relentless law enforcement and combat operations being conducted by 73rd IB in their area, forcing them to move frantically all the time.
For the 73rdIB alone, a total of 41 NPA rebels have already surrendered since January this year.
“With this continuous influx of rebel surrenderee, we expect the complete decimation of NPA’s Front-71 and the weakening of other Fronts of Far South Mindanao Regional Committee,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie Babac, Commander of 73rd IB.
Meanwhile, Major General Eduardo M Año, Commander of the 10th Infantry Agila Division, lauded the cooperation of local officials and other stakeholders in propagating the call for the NPA bandits to surrender.
“We are calling on our deceived brothers who are still with the NPA to grab the opportunity of living a peaceful life before it’s too late. The best option for them is to abandon the futile armed struggle,” Año said.
The recent development raises the number to a total of 134 NPA rebels who yielded to different units of 10th Infantry Agila Division since January this year.
The documentation of the said surrenderees is underway for them to be enrolled in the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) as part of the government’s effort to reintegrate them into the mainstream society.