CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac – Tired and weary of fighting the government forces, seven members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered in Baggao, Cagayan on Wednesday.
The Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) reported on Thursday that the surrenderers, who have been on the government’s watchlist, are all members of the NPA’s East Front under the Komiteng Rehiyon–Cagayan Valley (KR-CV).
The surrenderers yielded five M16 rifles, an M653 rifle, an M14 Rifle, and other war materials.
The latest surrender brought the total number of NPA members who returned to the government fold in Northern and Central Luzon to 633 from Jan. 1, 2021 to date. A total of 259 firearms were turned over to the authorities.
The number of returnees is on top of the 780 members of different NPA-affiliated mass organizations who withdrew their support from the terrorist group.
Maj. Gen. Laurence E. Mina, commander of the Philippine Army's 5th Infantry Division who supervised the efforts that led to the latest surrender, said in a statement, “we will be relentless in performing various military operations and community support programs to encourage more rebel surrenders. We will not rest until this decades-long security problem is concluded.”
Nolcom chief Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr. lauded the troops, saying “your recent feat is a clear indication of your efficiency and effectiveness in the performance of your mandate to win the peace and end the NPA’s atrocities in Northern Luzon.”
“With a rate of three NPA rebels returning to government fold with one firearm every day, the NPA’s complete decimation in Northern Luzon is within reach. We will continue with our relentless operations and community support activities to sustain our gains to liberate our people in this part of the country from this decades-long menace,” he said.
Burgos said the surrendered rebels will be assisted by the military and various government agencies as they avail the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) prior to reintegration into mainstream society.
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. (PNA)