By Richelyn Gubalani
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Twenty-one more New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, including four sub-commanders, have surrendered to police and Army personnel in South Cotabato province.
Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said the rebels, who were formally presented to local officials and the media on Monday, voluntarily yielded along with at least seven firearms following a series of negotiations.
Capellan said the surrenderers were received last Friday by personnel from the South Cotabato Police Mobile Force Company (SCMFC), Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB), and the Banga municipal police station during community support activities dubbed “Kapwa Ko, Sagot Ko” held in Barangay Kalkam, Tupi town, and Barangay Lambingi in Banga.
The peace initiatives are part of the program launched by the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office and the 27IB in line with their continuing joint internal security operations, he added.
Capellan said the returnees were formerly under the Roxas Range Company and West Musa or Brigol Company of the NPA’s Guerilla Fronts 72 and 73, respectively.
He said the NPA units are led by Benancio Ulaman Julan, the commanding officer of Platoon West; and Yunit Militia commanders Ervin Saling Ferrer, Jemmy Biolanda Magbanua, and Hasan Pagayao Saling.
The other surrenderers were identified as Nelson Tang Olin, Shiela Mae Ticao Olin, Santos Salam Abad, Jay-R Atam Abad, Ariel Jodis Pascua, Ker-Ker Saling Bangon, Johnny Sabal Pungol, Ryan Caspillo Sabal, Joey Saling Paulite Jr., Abdul Pagayao Saling, Bazer Lintang Mampurok, Michael Digo Balao, Jomel Negil Panoy, Jim Endig Ofong, Nazer Lintang Mampurok, Danny Gambin Dati, and Arsenio Kanahay Maling.
Capellan said the group surrendered four homemade 12-gauge shotguns, a loaded M2 Carbine rifle, an improvised M14 bolt action rifle, a homemade single-shot pistolized shotgun, 40mm “high-explosive, dual purpose” cartridge, M26 fragmentation hand grenade, MK2 fragmentation grenade, PRB high-explosive fragmentation grenade and assorted ammunition.
“They also brought along 10 subversive textbooks and documents,” he said.
The surrenderers are currently under the custody of the SCPMFC and will undergo processing for inclusion into the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
Brig. Gen. Alfred Corpus, PRO-12 director, assured on Monday the police will assist the reintegration of the former rebels into their communities.
“This will be the start of their fruitful and productive journey. Rest assured that we are more than willing and prepared to help them as they restart their lives with their families,” Corpus said.
He also called on the remaining active NPA rebels in the area to also surrender and avail of the government’s reintegration program. (IA/PNA)