• 3 NPA rebels yield to military in Southern Philippines

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    Three New People’s Army rebels have surrendered separately to the Philippine military in the southern region of Mindanao, officials said on Monday.

    Officials said two rebels—Elizar Tabon and Mario Peding—surrendered in the town of Glan in Sarangani province, while the other Gilbert Meniano, yielded in Tago town in Surigao province.

    Tabon, 34, and Peding, 28, are members of a propaganda unit operating in Sarangani and both rebels also surrendered their weapons. The duo said their unit was hunting them down after splitting with the NPA, which recruited them in 1999.

    “Both decided to coordinate with the government troops, under Capt. Melvin Asuncion of 72nd Cadre Battalion, 10th Infantry Division when they received a letter from their former leaders forcing them to join again and help in recovery efforts of their former mass base in Glan, Sarangani,” said Capt. Severino David, a spokesman for the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command.

    He said Meniano also surrendered his rifle to Lt. Col. Joseph Norwin Pasamonte, commander of the 36th Infantry Battalion, in Surigao province. Meniano surrendered following a negotiation with tribe leaders in the Tago town.

    Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, the regional army commander, said: “We have many surrender feelers from the NPA and we are optimistic that more of our brothers in the mountains will soon mainstream back in the communities. Let us hand-in-hand welcome them and help them experience abundant inner peace with their families.”

    He said the trio would be given financial and livelihood aid through the Armed Forces’ Guns-For-Peace Program and the Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process.

    The NPA is fighting for a separate state in the country.

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