Saturday, October 26, 2019

Agusan Sur task force facilitates surrender of 2 NPA rebels

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 27, 2019): Agusan Sur task force facilitates surrender of 2 NPA rebels

NEW LIFE. Former New People’s Army (NPA) members Robert Hugsalan Lepanda alias Gerald (left) and Jovelyn Layma Tahudan alias Bhai-bhai/Noa of Guerilla Front 88 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) surrender to authorities Friday (Oct. 25, 2019) in San Luis, Agusan del Sur. The Army said disillusionment, exhaustion and hunger forced the two former rebels to abandon the communist movement. (Photo courtesy of 26IB, PA)

Efforts of the Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support Team Cluster of the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) in San Luis, Agusan del Sur paid off when two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) laid down their arms and returned to the fold of the law.

The Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion (26IB) on Saturday lauded the local MTF-ELCAC for facilitating the negotiations and the surrender of the two NPA members.

Lt. Col. Romeo C. Jimenea, commander of 26IB, said the hard work of MTF-ELCAC and other stakeholders involved in the negotiations is commendable.

“This only proves that the convergence of efforts from different civil authorities is very effective,” Jimenea said, adding that Executive Order 70 or the institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is a big help to local government units (LGUs).

He also welcomed the former NPA members and commended their decision and willingness to abandon the communist terrorist movement.

Former NPA members Jovelyn Layma Tahudan alias Bhai-bhai/Noa and Robert Hugsalan Lepanda alias Gerald, yielded to authorities in San Luis, Agusan Sur on October 25.

Tahudan is a resident of Purok 2, Barangay Policarpio, San Luis who served as an encoder of Guerilla Front 88 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), while Lepanda, a resident of Sitio Tambo, Barangay Binicalan, San Luis was an element of Team ABE of Squad 1, Platoon 2 of Guerilla Front 88 of NCMRC.

They also surrendered along with them two M-16 rifles and two .45-caliber pistols, all with defaced serial numbers.

Tiredness, hunger and the realization of following a wrong cause prompted the former NPA members to surrender, the Army said.


In her statement, Tahudan expressed disillusionment to the movement as nothing changed in her life, the promises and assurances that were given to her all failed to materialize.

Too much exhaustion and hunger due to the lack of enough food supplies almost killed her in the mountains, she added.

She also sensed corruption inside the movement, noting that their leaders and their families enjoy the collections from the extortion activities of the NPA rebels.

Tahudan added that she was a student of Zillovia National High School in the area when she was recruited by the NPA.

Upon their surrender, the local government of San Luis, through Mayor Phoebe L. Corvera, provided them with immediate cash assistance of PHP25,000 each.

The two former NPA rebels are now under the custody of the 26IB for processing and validation for their enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.

Jimenea urged the remaining NPA combatants operating in Agusan del Sur to lay down their arms and avail of the programs and services of the government.

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