Top officials of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Agusan del Sur turned over their weapons when they surrendered to the 26st Infantry Brigade (IB) at the military camp in Talacogon town on Sunday.
Lt. Col. Romeo Jimenea, commander of 26th IB, said most of the surrenderers are political officers, squad and platoon leaders, medics and supply officer from Communist Party of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee (SMRC) operating in Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley provinces.
The former rebels also turned over two M16 rifles, two M1 Garand Rifles, one caliber.30 Carbine rifle, an improvised M79 grenade launcher, three .45 caliber pistols, an improvised antipersonnel mine and a hand grenade.
Jimenea withheld the identities of the former rebels for security reasons.
As surrenderees, the nine would be enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the national government and would receive legal and livelihood assistance and other social benefits.
Jimenea said the former rebels decided to surrender after they were convinced with the government’s E-CLIP that gives financial and livelihood assistance to former rebels who surrender.
Tonton (not his real name) was one of the squad leaders of NPA members who surrendered Sunday. He said they decided to surrender due to hardships they have been suffering in their hideouts in the mountains amid the military’s relentless and intensified counterinsurgency operations.
Brig. Gen. Andres Centino, commander of the 401st Infantry Brigade, reiterated his appeal to the remaining communist guerrillas to surrender and return to their respective families.
“E-CLIP is by far the most comprehensive program that we can offer to our brothers who are still waging a futile war against the government. There is no better time for them to surrender, than now,” Centino said. By CLC