Two alleged New People’s Army (NPA) rebels operating in the borders of Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon have surrendered to authorities.
Lt. Col. Romeo Jimenea, commander of the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion identified the rebels as Junjie Remintiza alias Banban, the supposed commander of Abe Squad 1, Platoon 1 of Regional Guerrilla Unit (RRGU) of the CPP-NPA North Central Mindanao Region (NCMR); and Johnyfer Damiar alias Nans, allegedly a gunner of RRGU.
The rebels turned themselves in Sunday afternoon unarmed to the 26th IB based in Barangay Zamora, Talacogon town in Agusan del Sur.
Jimenea said the NPA has been losing members due to demoralization in the ranks.
“The former terrorists who were suffering from hunger and demoralization said they were already tired of fighting against government forces which made them realize to surrender and turned back their loyalty to the Philippine Constitution,” Jimenea said in a statement.
The mass surrenders of tired and disgruntled NPA rebels across Caraga also reflect the waning influence of the communist movement in the countryside, he added.
Ka Banban said they have been aspiring to lay down their firearms and surrender to the government, but said they doubted after being warned they would be harmed and subjected to abuse.
“Sa una nag duha duha pud me og surrender kay nahadlok me sa mga sundalo kay ingon sa amung mga kumander nga kulatahon ug patyon daw me sa mga sundalo, pero dili diay tinuod. Maayo man ang ilang (sundalo) pagtagad sa amua,” he said.
Away from their families, Ka Banban said they wanted to surrender due to hardships they have been suffering in their hideouts in the mountains.
“Dugay na gyud me nangita ug paagi nga mkasurrender, lisod na gyud kaayo ang amung kahimtang sa sulod ug gimingaw na kaayo me sa amung mga pamilya. Ug amu pud nakita nga wala na sa maayong direksyon ang amung grupo, sukwahi na gyud sa ilang mga gipasalig sa amua,” he added.
The rebel returnees will soon be enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)to avail themselves of livelihood aid from the government.
“We will make sure that they will become a beneficiaries of E-CLIP to help them start anew. We just hope that more of their comrades will follow their lead and choose to live a peaceful life,” Jimenea said. By CLC