Thursday, April 23, 2020

2 NPA fighters surrender in Davao de Oro

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 23, 2020): 2 NPA fighters surrender in Davao de Oro (By Che Palicte)

Two communist New People’s Army (NPA) combatants surrendered to the government on Tuesday in the Davao de Oro town of Mawab, the Army's 71st Infantry Battalion (71IB) said.

In a statement Wednesday, 71IB
identified the surrenderers as “Lando,” a supply officer, and “Narra,” a political guide of the weakened NPA Guerrilla Front 2 operating in Davao de Oro.

The Army unit quoted Lando as saying that he was enticed to join the communist rebel movement after being promised land to till and financial support to his family known within the NPA as a Suporta sa Pamilya (SuPaMil).

However, Lando said none of these promises proved true. On the contrary, the surrenderer said he was disenchanted by the "injustices" he saw and experienced within the rebel movement, forcing him to return to the fold of the law.

One such experience, Lando said, was seeing a rebel leader known only as “Jupiter” molesting and raping the wives of ordinary NPA members.

The other surrenderer, Narra, also told 71IB about the presence of child warriors aged 12 in their unit, a violation of Republic Act 7610 known as Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act that prohibits the recruitment of minors in any armed group or to take part in fighting or be used as guides, carriers or spies.

“They also divulged that students from the University of the Philippines regularly join them in the hinterland -- the male students join the NPA for three months while female students join for a month, which serves as their training,” the statement read.

Narra also told the military about the predicament of ordinary fighters like him, who he said are being forced to endure hunger while their leaders are well-provided with food.

The Army unit said Lando and Narra will be enrolled with the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

“The government is true to its word in helping the terrorist NPAs who wish to surrender,” said Lt. Col. Sonny Gonzales, 71IB commander.

Gonzales also urged the remaining NPA combatants to surrender and live peaceful lives with their families.

The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

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