Ten people who claimed to belong to the New Peoples Army (NPA) “Milisya ng Bayan” surrendered to government forces in Rosario town in Agusan del Sur on Monday, the Army said.
Lt Col. Jaime Datuin, commander of the Army’s 75th Infantry Battalion, received the militiamen who were recruited as the “first line of defense” of hardcore NPA members of the communist Guerilla Front 14 in simple ceremonies in Barangay Bayugan 3 at 8 a.m.
They brought with them two .45 pistols, one .357 revolver, one caliber 22 rifle and three improvised shotguns.
Upon their surrender, the military conducted medical assessment and psychological counseling of the returnees, giving them food packs, etc.
Datuin said the group decided to give up because of the difficulty and danger of the situation and that some felt that they were being exploited by the communists.
“I am thankful that more and more NPAs are laying down their firearms and ultimately decided to return to our government,” he said.
The surrender, the military official said was the fruit of their efforts to convince them to surrender and to adhere to peace and development– not armed struggle—as the solution to their impoverished situation.
NPA militiamen are different from the NPA’s regular armed fighters and are like the military’s civilian militia. By CLC