From the Manila Times (Dec 26): 4 NPA rebels surrender to spend Christmas with family
SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: It was a happy Christmas for the families of the four New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who surrendered to the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (33IB) in Masig, Bagumbayan Municipality in Sultan Kudarat on the eve of Christmas.
“Ka Carding,” an NPA commander of the Manobo-Dulangan tribe living in Daguma mountain ranges of Sultan Kudarat, was thus home to share noche buena with his family.
Ka Carding, who was also the communist group’s political instructor and platoon medic serving the defunct Platoon Turo-turo, handed over his M1 Garand rifle.
He and his four followers yielded to the 33rd IB because they preferred to spend Christmas with their families and feared of getting hit by the military’s mortars and howitzers.
Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, 33IB commander said the Army is anticipating harassment and offensives from the NPA since the rebel movement celebrates its 50th founding anniversary on December 26.
Cabunoc said they have launched sporadic mortar and artillery fire on the identified location of the communists in the mountains of Sultan Kudarat since Friday.
“Hearing the loud explosions from mortar fire and anti-tank weapons, they surfaced to lay down their firearms and officially surrendered,” the 33IB commander said.
Ka Carding, was accompanied by three of his men who brought with them a KG9 submachine gun, two revolvers, a 9mm pistol, and three MK2 fragmentation grenades.
“We were afraid to die in battles that we could not win. We also wanted to spend Christmas with our families,” said Ka Carding.
Cabunoc said “Ka Carding” and his men were among the remnants of the communist rebels that established the Daguma Sub-Region Party Committee about two years ago.
The series of rebel surrenders led to the gradual collapse of the communist movement in Bagumbayan and in the town of Senator Ninoy Aquino, in Sultan Kudarat province.
“We have lost the support of the people when the 33rd Infantry Battalion took over to assist the local government here. Our cadres retreated to adjacent towns, leaving us in hiding in the forest,” Ka Carding said.
A two year veteran of the communist ‘protracted war’ in the countryside, Ka Karding said they were abandoned by their comrades when the Army started coming to their communities.
“They moved to the Palimbang areas,” he said, referring to an adjacent town in Sarangani province.
Cabunoc received the former rebels at his camp in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat accompanied by Capt. Winston Cacatian, 33IB Charlie company commander.
Col. Robert Dauz, the commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, pe received the former communist rebels at the brigade’s headquarters in Tacurong City. |
To date, 203 NPA rebels have surrendered to the 33rd IB since the unit took over responsibility over the communist insurgency in Sultan Kudarat in March 2017.
A total of 65 of the former rebels have been granted social benefits through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP, Cabunoc said.