AN ALLEGED vice commander, eight members and 12 supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) have surrendered to the 71st Infantry Battalion at its headquarters in Mawab, Compostela Valley on Saturday.
1Lt. Jhocell Asis, the civil-military operations (CMO) of the 71st IB, identified the ranking NPA officer as Ka Gerald, the vice commander of Guerilla Front 27.
Asis said the NPA members and supporters surrendered without firearms to Lt. Col. Esteveyn Ducusin, the commanding officer of 71st IB, around 3 p.m. Saturday in Barangay Nueva Visayas, Mawab.
“We are very thankful for the support we are getting from the barangay officials and IP (Indigenous Peoples) leaders in our area of operations who are now our partner in facilitating the NPA (members) to surrender,” Ducusin said.
“The significant number of NPAs who surrendered every day is a manifestation that the communist terrorist organization is irrelevant and people are tired of supporting them,” Ducusin added.
Last Jan. 31, eight NPA members belonging to the Guerrilla Front 2 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SRMC) also surrendered to the 71st IB.
Asis said the eight did not bring any firearm when they surrendered. But they brought personal belongings reportedly owned by a certain Ka Alex, said to be the political instructor of Guerrilla Front 2, and subversive documents, 11 rounds of ammunition of .45 caliber pistol and one mobile phone.
Ducusin is confident that more rebels will surrender when they find out that their former comrades are now leading normal lives with the assistance from the government.
“We all deserve to live life happily and peacefully with our families,” Ducusin said. “The 71st IB is always open to assist and help NPAs who want to go back to the mainstream of the society and live normally.”