CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Twelve heavily armed New People’s Army (NPA) rebels belonging to the North Central Mindanao Committee under a certain “Ka Pagasa” voluntarily surrendered to field units of the Army’s 58th Infantry (Dimalulupig) Battalion (58th IB) in Misamis Oriental.
In a related development, an NPA amazon also surrendered to the Community Support Program (CSP) team of the Army’s 29th Infantry (Matatag) Battalion (29thIB) in Barangay Quezon, Surigao City.
The 19-year old NPA amazon, identified only as certain “Ka Leilan,” is a regular member of SYP16-B of Guerilla Front 16 (GF 16) of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).
The new surrenderees were officially presented to the command group of the 58th IB under its commanding officer Lt. Col. Ricky L. Canatoy. The 58th IB is under the operational control of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade based here.
The rebels initially surrendered to the field units of the 58th IB in Langusahan area, Barangay Minalwang, in Claveria town, Misamis Oriental province, recently, through the intervention of barangay officials in Minalwang.
“The surrender was an offshoot of the continuous pressure brought about by the Intensified Military Operation (IMO) of the 402nd Brigade prompting the whole NPA squad to surrender,” 402nd Brigade Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer Maj. Francisco P. Garello, Jr. told The Manila Bulletin on Thursday.
The surrenderees also revealed the Communist NPA Terrorist Group (CTG) arms caches in three different locations in the hinterlands of Barangay Minalwang.
The recovered items included eight high-powered firearms composed of 2 AK47 rifles, two M16 Armalite rifles, 1 Garand rifle, one M14 rifle, 1 Carbine and one M653 rifle, assorted live ammunition, and other war materials.
The surrenderees said they were recruited in 2016 as youths with one of them still a minor. Garello said this is a clear violation of the CTG of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) which prohibits the recruitment and use of minors in armed conflict.
Currently, the surrenderees are undergoing deradicalization procedure as part of the requirement in their application for the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.
A total of 119 CNTs have already surrendered to the operation control (OPCON) Battalions of 402ndBrigade.
402nd Brigade commanding general, Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine lauded the surrenderees for their decision to give up the armed struggle.
The NPA amazon turned over one Caliber .45 with live ammunition and a hand grenade to the combined elements of “Charlie” Company, 29th IB, 1st Surigao del Norte Provincial Mobile Force Company, and Regional Mobile Force Battalion 13.
“Ka Leilan” said she was radicalized together with other young recruits through indoctrinations and “teach-ins” about communist ideology and propagandas to inculcate a culture of hatred against the government.
According to 29th IB commander Lt. Col Isagani O. Criste, “Ka Leilan” is a living evidence of the violations of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Col. George L. Banzon, commanding officer of the Army’s 901st Infantry (Fight’Em) Brigade, said “Ka Leilan” is proof of the communists’ exploitation of the youth.