CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Eight members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the mountains of Sultan Kudarat surrendered to government forces Thursday, claiming their leaders had abandoned them.
The group turned in weapons to Lt. Col. Frederick Chicote, 7th Infantry Battalion commander. The military unit is based in Barangay Masiag, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.
The firearms consisted of two M16 rifles, an M1 Carbine rifle, two KG9 pistols, an Ingram machine pistol, an M79 grenade launcher, a 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, and several explosives.
Chicote said the surrenderers were remnants of NPA South Regional Command, Daguma, Far South Mindanao Region, which has experienced a major setback in its ranks following the series of surrenders.
“They have withdrawn their allegiance to the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA group,” Chicote said.
He said the surrenderers also want to clear their names and live normal lives as their leaders have abandoned them after failing to deliver their promises of a good and secure life.
Ruben, one of the surrenderers, said he was happy they were given the chance to change their lives and correct the mistake they have committed "due to the deception of the CPP-NPA."
“We were victims of lies, lip service, and clearly we were duped,” he said in the vernacular.
Maj. Gen. Roberto Capulong, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the Army hopes to "save many families and help them live a peaceful and happy life away from the armed struggle."
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)