TACLOBAN CITY – At least 22 members and staunch supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Carigara, Leyte have surrendered to authorities after their former comrades convinced them to abandon the terror group's ideology.
The surrenderers pledged loyalty to the government in a simple ceremony at the Carigara town hall on Monday, the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade (802nd IBde) said in a statement sent to reporters Monday night.
They took their oath of allegiance to the government before Mayor Eduardo Ong, Sr. as witnessed by Army 802nd IBde commander Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros, Army 93rd Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Arnold Lozada, policemen, and local officials.
Of the 22 rebels, four were regular fighters, four were members of NPA’s Batakang Organisayon sa Partido, and 14 were NPA mass supporters.
They are from the upland villages of Lower Sogod, Hiluctogan, Caghalo, Rubas, San Ignacio, Libo, Canlampay, Tinaguban and Binibihan, the report added.
The Army said the former rebels turned over four .45 caliber pistols with one magazine each, one .45 caliber Thompson submachine gun, one homemade rifle, anti-government books, and documents.
The mass surrender, according to the military, was made possible through the collaboration of the Carigara Integrated Peace and Development Workers Association (CIPDWA) and the Philippine Army.
The CIPDWA is composed of former rebels now partners of the local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Nonoy (not his real name) said they decided to surrender due to the sincerity of the government in bringing services to the communities.
“We want to live in peace and we don’t want to be reconnected with our former comrades who have been attempting to recover their former mass base supporters,” Nonoy told the military.
Ong extended cash assistance and distributed food packs to the surrenderers.
In his message, he said the surrender of 22 of his constituents is a big boost to their local peace and order campaign.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)