BUTUAN CITY – Fatigue and lack of food pushed six erstwhile members of the New People`s Army (NPA) to lay down their arms and surrender to the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion (26thIB) in Agusan del Sur.

3 23 - 6 NPAs yield to Army in Agusan del Sur
Shown in photo are the former New People’s Army rebels who voluntarily give up their arms to the military during their brief surrender rites on Friday in Agusan del Sur. (Photo courtesy of 26th IB-CMO via Mike U. Crismundo/Manila Bulletin)

The surrenderers consists of four regular NPA members and two militias.

“Their voluntary surrender yesterday (October 23) was the result of the intensified military offensive against them, resulting in scarcity of food and fatigue in order to evade the presence of military forces,” 26th IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer First Lt. Percival J. Carido told The Manila Bulletin on Saturday. 

“Anxious for their life and security, the former rebels decided to surrender and leave the terrorist movement bringing along with them their firearms,” 26th IB CMO officer said.

Carido said one of them, identified as “Ka Ben”, squad leader of Squad 2, Platoon 1, of SDG COMPAQ of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), broke into tears as he reminisced his troubled life long experienced with the armed group, and the loneliness pf being far from his family.

“Ka Ben” also expressed his anger towards the NPA leadership deceiving them about the promise of being equal in the society and inside the armed group, as their campaign propaganda to urge more recruits were untrue, Carido said.

The six former rebels (FRs) are currently undergoing custodial debriefing, and various types of assessment and documentation prior to enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government which will assist them in their reintegration into the community.                                           

Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, commanding officer of the 26th IB, congratulated the FRs on their decision to surrender. 

“I am glad that these people finally realized the futility of their distorted ideology,” he said. 

“They have been experiencing hardships inside the armed group, and gladly, they manage to escape and make their way out from their complicated and messy life inside the terrorist movement,” he said. 

“May their experiences urged the remaining members of NPA to go back to mainstream society and live a peaceful life with their family just like what the six of their former comrades have done,” the 26th IB commander said.

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