52 NPA rebels surrendered in Sept– military

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Fifty-two members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to government forces in September, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Sunday.

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The latest to surrender, according to the military’s Western Command (WesCom), were four rebels based in Palawan.

The four surrenderers were identified by WesCom spokeswoman Capt. Cheryl Tindog as Jeffrey Orit Sampaca alias Ka Ruban/Dante, 25; Henry Poyang Minduk alias Ka Daniel, 18; Germalyn Batuan Pitogo alias Gengen, 16; and Analy Pitogo Ambuan alias Ansa, 19.

They brought with them 12 firearms.

Earlier, on September 27, Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs chief, said seven NPA members surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade in Barangay Sanito, Ipil town, in Zamboanga Sibugay in southern Mindanao.

Arevalo said the communist fighters turned over two AK47 rifles and a caliber .45 Remington.

In Sultan Kudarat, also in Mindanao, nine NPA fighters who surrendered to the 33rd Infantry Battalion brought along with them six improvised explosive devices.

“It is apparent through the statement of those who surrendered that their comrades are now experiencing hardships within their organization, and they are willing to avail of the opportunities being offered by the government to former NPA rebels,” Arevalo said in a statement.

He added that the military is expecting more NPA guerrillas to surrender in the coming days.

Arevalo said the surrender of the 52 rebels are “indicative of the dwindling” of the NPA organization.

He added that the government will be offering immediate financial and livelihood assistance to the former NPA members under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

The military has assured that the former communist fighters will be given seed capital for their livelihood “to help them go back to mainstream communities.”

Despite the surrender of the 52 NPA rebels, Arevalo said, military operations against the NPA across the country will continue.

There have been 566 communist rebels “neutralized” since the cancelation of peace talks between the communists and the government on February 4.

DEMPSEY REYES

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