GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Thirteen New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, including four unit leaders, have voluntarily surrendered while two others were arrested by police and Army personnel in South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces, officials reported on Saturday.
Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office in Soccsksargen (PRO-12), said 11 of the surrenderers formally yielded along with their firearms and presented to local officials on Friday in Sto. Niño town, South Cotabato.
He said five of them were regular combatants while six were members of the Militia ng Bayan (MB) of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 73 (Musa)-Far South Mindanao Region.
They were initially received around 4 p.m. Thursday by joint elements from the PRO-12’s Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU-12) and other law enforcement personnel in Sitio Pine Tree, Barangay Manuel Roxas in Sto. Niño.
“This was the result of our continuing efforts to reach out and encourage local members of the NPA to return to the folds of the law,” he said in a statement.
The returnees were led by Arnel Sabarillo alias “Buddy,” a former commanding officer of Platoon Arabo who was later reassigned as vice commander of Platoon Myphone under the Daguma Sub-Regional Command of Front 73.
He was joined by Hina Kim Belet alias “May,” a medic of Platoon Nokia; Bong Pendatun alias “Rogsy” of Platoon Myphone; John John Agang alias “John-John” of Platoon Myphone; Marlon Yto alias “Jinggoy” of the “Kilusang Larangang Guerilla” of Front 73; Edgar Permalino alias “Jomar,” a former Platoon political instructor and MB commanding officer in Poblacion, Sto. Niño; Lemuel Magudinog alias “Dino,” MB vice commander in Barangay South Sepaka, Surallah town; Ramil Bautista alias “Ome,” MB member in Barangay Rang-ay, Banga town; Dionedes Alberto alias “Kulot,” MB member in Barangay Rang-ay; Modesto Dading alias “Tonton,” MB member in Sitio Lower Lam Bukay, Barangay Lamba in Banga; and, Abner Hinggilio alias “Jacob,” MB member in Barangay South Sepaka, Surallah.
They surrendered two KG9 rifles with 20 live ammunition, a .45-caliber pistol with 10 live ammunition, two .38-caliber revolvers, two 12-gauge shotguns with four live ammunition, two hand grenades, a landmine, and various subversive documents.
Capellan said the surrenderers were brought to the RIU-12 office in Camp Fermin Lira here for debriefing and documentation.
In Sarangani, two other NPA rebels also surrendered to the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB) on Friday in Barangay Spring, Alabel town in coordination with village officials.
Lt. Col. Ronaldo Valdez, 73IB commanding officer, identified the returnees as alias “Paul,” the vice commander of Platoon Tala of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 71 (Tala), and alias “Dianne,” the medical officer of Platoon North.
Alias “Dianne,” who was seven months pregnant, was from Barangay Lagao here while alias “Paul,” who surrendered a Garand rifle, hails from Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan town, Sarangani.
Valdez said the two decided to surrender due to their difficult situation in the mountains and uncertainty of their cause.
“They were among our residents who were brainwashed by the sweet talks and false promises by the NPA recruiters,” he said in an interview.
In Maasim town, Sarangani, two suspected NPA rebels were arrested by police and Army personnel on Thursday afternoon in Purok 2, Barangay Poblacion.
Capellan said the joint security team was conducting routine patrol when they noticed two males who were not wearing face masks while in public.
He said the team immediately accosted the suspects, who were identified as Johnny Buguis and Jimmy Kitay, but they attempted to flee.
They were eventually cornered and found inside their backpacks were a hand grenade, a .38-caliber handgun loaded with four live ammunition, two 12-gauge shotgun bullets and assorted documents, he said.
During investigation, Capellan said the two were established as members of the Sandatahan Yunit Propaganda of Front 73’s Platoon Huawei, which was under the command of Jun-Jun Narvasa alias “Magaw,” the Front’s secretary.
He added that Buguis served as liaison and recruitment officer while Kitay was a member of Platoon Huawei. (ia/PNA)