SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: A 25-year-old member of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to Philippine Army troops under the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan in Zamboanga del Sur on Tuesday morning. Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), identified the young NPA rebel as Jonelo Daluyon Balabag, aka Joel, and a resident of Purok 1, Barangay Matalang, Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur. Petinglay said Balabag surrendered to the troops of the 53rd Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Virgilio Hamos Jr. in Camp Major David Sabido in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur. Balabag, a member of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee, turned over his M16 rifle with three long and four short magazines loaded with ammunition to Hamos. Balabag said during debriefing by the troops that continuous combat operations forced the NPA to move day and night. With limited food supply and difficulty in evading the government forces, he decided to surrender. “We call on other members of the NPA to [surrender]. This is high time for them to lay down their arms and surrender for the chance of living a peaceful life with their family and loved ones,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., WestMinCom commanding general, said.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL