Monday, April 13, 2020

Surrenders waning NPA movement, grip in Caraga: Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 13, 2020): Surrenders waning NPA movement, grip in Caraga: Army (By Alexander Lopez)

Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, commander of the Army's 402nd Infantry Brigade. (PNA file photo)

The series of surrenders of members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the Caraga Region only manifest the fact that the group is continuously weakening including its grip on communities, especially in far-flung areas.

This was the assessment raised by Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, the commander of 402nd Infantry Brigade (402Bde) of the Army, in a statement issued on Monday (April 13).

Licudine said that
10 NPA combatants operating under the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRS) and the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) operating in different provinces in Caraga Region have surrendered to authorities during the observance of Lenten Season last week.

He added that
the 10 rebels who surrendered during the period consisted of five regular members and three Milisya ng Bayan (MB) members of Guerrilla Front 4-A (GF4-A) in NCMRC and two regular members of Guerrilla Front 30 (GF30) of NEMRC.

Licudine said the 10 NPA combatants also surrendered to authorities one M16 rifle, one M1 Carbine rifle, one M653 rifle attached with M203 grenade launcher, three .45-caliber pistols, three .38-caliber pistols, and one Anti-Personnel Mine (APM).

Among those who surrendered include Alias “Jack”, the squad leader of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) of Squad Baking, SYP Kingdom of GF4-A, NCMRC.

Licudine said that Jack surrendered last April 6 when they had the chance to desert their group while in a community asking for food from the residents.

“Jack revealed during the interview that he decided to leave the NPA because he could no longer see any reason to continue to fight. He also uncovered the rampant corruption and abuse of their leaders,” he added.

On April 8, Jack facilitated the surrender of Alias “Brando”, the leader of Team Abe, Squad Uno, SYP Kingdom, GF4-A, NCMRC, and on April 9 the surrender of Alias “Wendel”, the political instructor of SYP Sikop, GF4-A, NCMRC to the forces of 23rd Infantry Battalion of the Army under the command of Lt. Col. Francisco L. Molina, Jr.

Meanwhile, on April 7, four female members of the NPA voluntarily surrendered to 23rd IB in Agusan del Norte.

The female NPAs were identified as Alias “Russel”, 31, the former platoon medic, SDG Caocao, GF4-A, NCMRC, Alias “Minchie”, 31, former squad medic, SYP Sikop, GF4-A, NCMRC, Alias “Darlyn”, and Alias “Langlang”, 24 years old, both members of MB in GF4-A.

Last week, two NPA members also voluntarily surrendered in Tago, Surigao del Sur to the troopers of 36th Infantry Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel.

“We are elated that these former CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists) have realized the futility of their armed struggle as we continuously confront the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19),” Licudine said.

He added that the continuing surrender of ranking NPA combatants and members proved the rotten ideology of the communist movement.

Licudine also emphasized that the series of surrenders manifested the steady weakening and the eventual downfall of the communist movement in Caraga Region.

He said that as of January 2020, a total of 48 NPA members already surrendered to authorities in the area and the recovery of 21 assorted firearms.

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

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